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LP101: Establishing Policy for Safety in the Workplace

Every retail organization wants to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees and customers. We strive to prevent accidents, injuries and illnesses by promoting safe work practices and working conditions, achieving zero accidents and injuries in all aspects of our operations, and fully complying with all rules, regulations, laws, and best practices. To achieve these objectives, we must develop and implement policies supporting safety in the workplace that will provide all applicable information to our employees, and where appropriate to our customers.

There are many benefits to having an effective safety policy:

  • A well-defined policy that is backed by a sound program and the necessary support will provide a vehicle to establish commitment to health and safety objectives throughout the company structure, ensuring that they are integrated at every level of the organization.
  • A well-executed policy will help to ensure that resources for health and safety are properly allocated and accounted for; providing appropriate safety training, instilling higher equipment standards (Ex: inspection, repair and replacement), ensuring consistent practices, and providing a strong foundation for self-regulation through self-assessment and audit programs.
  • A sound policy and program will ultimately help to reduce injuries and illnesses in the working/shopping environment.

Essentially, a safety policy is a statement of intent; a commitment to plan for coordinated management action regarding our safety initiatives. Policies should provide a comprehensive message regarding the company’s health and safety objectives and clear direction for the safety program. Guidelines will vary based on the type of retailer, products sold, and other circumstances specific to a particular organization, but common elements may include but are not limited to:

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  • A statement of the organization’s commitment to a safe and healthy workplace and shopping environment.
  • Specific policies and guidelines should be spelled out with statements regarding personal injury and occupational health, fire protection and compliance with all applicable legislation.
  • Training initiatives and related guidelines. Safety awareness promoted.
  • Instruments for reporting and resolving actual and/or potential safety issues are established and communicated
  • A statement reaffirming management’s responsibility to take all reasonable precautions to prevent injuries and/or illnesses, and an assertion that all levels of management will be held accountable for their safety responsibilities.
  • Statements proclaiming that it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy work environment, with an emphasis on cooperation for the effective implementation of policy objectives.
  • References to the actual safety program and related procedures for implementing policy objectives.
  • Systems of accountability are established with disciplinary forums if policies are violated.
  • An affirmation of the company commitment to ongoing review, revisions of the policy and program when necessary and appropriate.

The policy should be clearly worded and easily understood by all employees. Proper procedures and program activities should be outlined, with responsibilities clearly defined, assigned and understood. It should be communicated to everyone in the workplace with well-established standards and methods of accountability. Policy objectives should be integrated with all other company plans and objectives.

By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about safety in the workplace and other topics designed to help build your career in loss prevention, discover the professional growth opportunities available through the Loss Prevention Foundation.

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