HR Support on Producing a Written Safety Program

Editor's Note: With safety, word of mouth isn't enough.

Melissa BoyceOverview: OSHA does not require an overall written workplace safety program in the workplace; however, it does require several specific plans, such as the Hazard Communication Plan and the Exposure Control Plan, to be in writing. Also, having a written safety program can show OSHA that the employer is trying to create a safe and healthy workplace, which can result in lower fines if OSHA performs an inspection and finds a violation.

Even though a written safety program is not a requirement, it is a good idea to have one. Having a program can help reduce injuries and illnesses, which helps reduce workers' compensation and health care claims.

A written safety program should include all details relating to how the employer keeps its workers safe and healthy. This can include safety training components, all required plans, violation reporting procedures and anything else that the workplace does to promote safety.

Many states have their own OSH plans in place that employers must follow. While these plans must be at least as stringent as the federal plan, they can also be more so. Because of this, several states do require written safety programs. Employers should be aware of their state requirements on this issue.

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

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HR guidance on written safety programs in the workplace.