How to create your EHS handbook

It’s often the responsibility of an EHS professional to create a policy and handbook for their organization. This can be done through the study of OSHA regulations and related materials.

Organizations need to create an EHS policy or handbook to ensure that their companies are able to follow the right environmental, health, and safety standards. Organizations often first consult with an EHS professional, who in turn has to create a safety manual for their organization and their facility. A safety manual for construction will differ from a safety manual for the oil and gas company, so each handbook and policy will be slightly different. A good starting point is the OSHA safety manual PDF or a construction safety manual doc.

Having a clear EHS policy and handbook is important to improve the consistency of processes. Employees need to know exactly what they have to do in the event of an incident. They need to know how they are supposed to control and contain chemicals, and when they need to escalate situations to someone above them. They need to know that the company emphasizes safety and protection, and that the company is working actively towards protecting and even improving upon the environment.

Companies can look to a construction safety program outline for guidance, or the general environmental regulations. Not only does the policy/handbook need to be as comprehensive and thorough as possible, but the employees also need to be thoroughly briefed, and they need to be periodically refreshed.

As an EHS professional, it’s important to be able to compile and consolidate these types of materials for the benefit of the company. Without the right processes in place, organizations can find it difficult to protect the environment and safety of their employees. The more well-prepared a company is, the more likely it is to be able to react in time to a potential chemical hazard, and the more likely it is to be able to contain that chemical hazard in a way that protects both people and the environment.

  • An EHS professional will often be called upon to create a handbook and policy for an organization.
  • Having a comprehensive, customized handbook and policy for an organization is critical to ensuring that they can operate with limited risk.
  • Employees should be thoroughly trained on a company’s EHS handbook/policy to ensure that they know what to do during time sensitive and critical events.

Health and Safety Manual

Health and safety manuals, and work safety manuals, are a foundation to a healthy, safe workplace. These manuals play an important role in safety, environmental protection, and regulatory compliance, particularly for companies in high risk industries such as construction companies.

EHS professionals will want to start with a health and safety policy statement, but from there they need to develop a thorough, comprehensive workplace safety manual. This workplace safety manual will be the fall back when employees have questions about policy and processes, and will form the foundation of the organization’s training. EHS professionals wanting to learn more about creating a health and safety manual can take a look at an employee health and safety handbook sample, or otherwise download an environmental health and safety management system template.

However the EHS professional starts, it’s important that the manual or template be designed with the company itself in mind. The health and safety policy for construction company employees is going to be vastly different from the health and safety policy for a retail workplace. Companies need to have manuals that are tailored to their needs; if they are too generic, the processes won’t be followed, because they aren’t going to be well-suited to the working environment.

Regardless, every business needs a comprehensive health and safety manual. Workplace safety manuals build the company’s culture of safety, and ensure that the companies are as compliant as possible. Without these manuals, companies cannot achieve compliance because the individual employees aren’t aware of the processes they need to follow. Further, companies aren’t able to improve upon their compliance levels, because they don’t have written processes, and because they cannot identify where the issues are arising.

EHS professionals are responsible for developing these workplace safety manuals, but they don’t necessarily have to do it from scratch. As long as they start with a template and work from there, they should be able to create a comprehensive policy. Further, they should consult and reference their regulations, such as the EPCRA regulations, to make sure that they have everything they need in the manual. Often, there can be changes to regulations that happen over time.

Some companies have EHS platforms that make it easier to develop policies and manuals, by pushing updates directly to the professionals, and ensuring that they are always aware of their current regulations, compliance, and requirements. These EHS platforms can be instrumental to creating a manual or a policy that suits the company’s industry and that follows current requirements. Otherwise, writing a manual can be an extremely lengthy and complicated process.

  • Health and safety manuals and workplace safety manuals are a critical part of any workplace, but they can be hard to design from scratch.
  • EHS professionals can get started by using templates or examples of other manuals, but they still need to customize it for their own organization.
  • Manuals play an important role in health and safety, as well as regulatory compliance and environmental protection.

Health Policy Statement

Each EHS policy statement is a part of the EHS manual. A EHS policy template and standards can be used to create a successful EHS program.

Within the EHS management system manual will be an EHS policy statement. This EHS policy statement will outline the EHS management system elements and the EHS management system standards. To start with a health and safety manual, a professional may want to begin with an EHS management system template or an EHS management system PPT. But to complete the manual, they will need to be able to customize it to the organization’s own mission, statement, and needs.

What are the critical parts of an EHS policy statement?

An EHS policy statement essentially outlines the organization’s goals in preparedness, safety, and control. It states how the company is going to govern itself to reduce the potential risks throughout its operations, and the methods that it is using to get to a safer, lower risk place. An EHS policy will often include:

  • To follow compliance regulations wherever the company operates. Compliance regulations, such as CERCLA, the Clean Air Act, and EPCRA, govern many companies, and companies want to achieve this compliance to protect the environment and follow the laws.
  • To manage their risks. The company will need to identify risks and hazards and manage or mitigate them, and will need to use its own internal processes and audits to do so. While the EHS policy doesn’t need to dig into these processes, it does need to state that these processes are there and will be used.
  • To reduce environmental impact. Companies today often have the goal of overall reducing the environmental and health impact of their products and services, even where regulations and compliance don’t make it strictly necessary.
  • To work with similar companies. A company isn’t just judged based on its own performance but also the performance of other companies that it works with. Therefore, it may also want to state in its EHS policy that it is working with other companies that have similar EHS concerns.
  • To ensure employees are well-trained. If employees are not properly trained in their own compliance, they aren’t going to be able to protect their colleagues or the environment. Employees also need to be on board with the EHS policy for it to be followed.
  • To open up dialogue. Companies need to be willing to discuss EHS matters, as otherwise they won’t be able to improve. Regulations and compliance are constantly changing, and key stakeholders need to be educated and on board.

Once the EHS policy statement is out, the manual can also be crafted. But both a policy statement and a manual need to exist for a company’s EHS policy, because they perform different functions. The manual gets in-depth about how the company remains compliant, but the EHS policy is more a statement of intent. EHS policies will appear on an organization’s website and other media and materials, and will be used as a demonstrative way to show that the organization is taking things seriously.

  • Apart from the EHS manual, there should also be an EHS policy statement, which is featured both in the manual and on the company’s other media.
  • The EHS policy statement outlines the work that the company is doing to achieve better environment, health, and safety protection.
  • Companies without an EHS policy statement will not be able to show that they are taking EHS seriously and taking steps toward it.

Construction Safety Manual 2019

Safety manuals and handbooks will both include EHS policy, but they will also include an in-depth look on the EHS processes themselves. Construction companies can make templates and PDF documents to inform and educate employees about their safety processes.

A construction company safety policy template can go into a manual, but the manual itself will usually contain more information than just that. Construction company policy PDF documents and a construction safety policy template can be shared among employees, to show them exactly what the company is doing to ensure their health, and to show them the processes that they need to follow to protect the environment, themselves, and their colleagues.

Corporate EHS policy has to be developed by a professional, and a health and safety handbook PDF as well as in-person and on-site training should educate employees about what they need to do to remain safe within the working environment.

Construction sites tend to be some of the most dangerous sites out there, in terms of worker injury and accident. But with risk assessments and safety audits, companies can mitigate much of this risk. All this requires that companies and employees continue a dialogue about safety, and that the employees remain on board with the processes that they have to follow.

Company safety policies are all about ensuring that there is a consistency to the work that is done. Without corporate safety policies, it can be difficult to ensure that the right maintenance is achieved. Companies may not replace equipment when they have to. Employees may not know who to notify of equipment breakdowns, or of safety equipment that has to be replaced, and consequently these things might not happen. The more educated everyone is about the processes of the company, the more they can adhere to them. The smoother the company runs, the less risk there is.

  • Companies can protect their employees through the use of an EHS manual and handbooks.
  • When employees have manuals and handbooks, they are better able to follow safety processes, protect the company, and protect themselves.
  • Without manuals, it can be difficult for a company to not only control its safety and risk, but also to make sure employees track their own safety and risk.

EHS Policy Document

EHS policy examples and an EHS policy sample can help a professional in ensuring that their own EHS policy manual is as thorough as possible.

How is an EHS manual doc designed? An EHS manual PDF can illuminate the general EHS policy format, but the policy manual itself will still need to be customized; an EHS policy for a construction company has to be tailored to the construction industry. An EHS manual has to begin with the organization’s EHS policy document, and then the rest of the manual covers the processes that the EHS policy outlines. The EHS policy itself is more or less a brief mission statement, which describes the activities that the organization is engaging in to ensure that the company maintains its own safety and environmental health compliance.

Beginning with an EHS policy document can be a good way to start the EHS manual. But most organizations are going to have fairly robust manuals, especially those in the construction industry. A manual should include all the processes that are required to keep employees safe, and may need to reference other, more specific manuals in detail, for different job roles and departments. An EHS policy for construction company employees may have many different modules.

A manual should be as thorough as possible, even if it appears to be tedious. The more specific the information is, the more likely it is to reduce risk and improve safety. Employees need to know exactly what to do, step by step, in terms of health, safety, and environmental concerns. This includes what type of personal protection they should be using, who they should report safety incidents to, and what they should do if they feel that safety on the work site is not up to standards.

Through an EHS document, the organization is able to foster its culture of safety, and encourage employees to uphold safety even when they aren’t being supervised and even when it may not necessarily be their job description to intervene. Employees with thorough documentation will feel empowered to act, because they will know which processes should be followed.

A .DOC or a .PDF is an ideal way to distribute policy and manual information to employees, because it is a portable document that can be referenced online. However, printed out copies should still be available in any area the employees may need to consult with them. PDFs are particularly useful because they cannot be accidentally changed; they can be controlled for each version. An ehs policy pdf will look the same on any platform.

  • EHS policy statements and EHS manuals are essential for ensuring that employees know what they need to do to maintain health and safety.
  • .DOC files and .PDF files can be used to distribute manuals to employees, though employees also need to undergo safety training.
  • The more specific and thorough a manual is, the more useful it will be.‍

If you’re interested in how Encamp helps EHS managers deliver consistent processes and first-rate compliance programs, request a demo.

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