Management system guidance
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5.2 OH&S Policy
This section includes enhanced requirements from the 2007 version, more attention should be paid to the communication and participation of workers, across the organization. Organizations must commit to “satisfy” legal and other requirements and must apply the hierarchy of controls to OHS risks. The policy must be available as documented information.
Update your safety policy statement to emphasise communication and the participation of workers, across the organization; commit to satisfy legal and other requirements; commit to the hierarchy of controls to OHS risks.
You should check whether the policies have been communicated and understood throughout your organization. The policies must also be available to any relevant interested parties. Auditors will wish to determine if the policies meet the intent and are understood, by interviewing personnel at all levels. Although the exact content of the policies does not need to be recited by interviewees, the awareness of the policies and how their job affects the company objectives should be determined.
This does not require your employees to memorize the policies but it does mean they should be aware of it, know where it may be found and be able to paraphrase, or give an interpretation as it applies to them. If the personnel interviewed do not know what their measurable objectives are and/or do not know what the organizational objectives are that they have a direct effect upon, the auditor would be further directed to evaluate top management’s communication of the policies and objectives.
Inferred awareness through knowledge of procedures is not considered sufficient; otherwise why have the requirement in the first place? A quick and convenient way to promote and communicate the policy might be to create a shortened version of main policy; try condensing it to five key words or even a couple of short sentences. This can be posted on bulletin boards in each department.
You could even add it to the reverse side of staff security passes or ID badges. If an auditor asks an employee whether they are aware of the policy; they can point to the bulletin board or point to it on their badge. The employee can further elaborate to the auditor, what the policy means to them and how it influences their work.
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