If you’re developing or re-assessing your existing policies, you will know that crafting effective in-house health and safety policies is essential to creating a safe and productive environment for your employees. 

Health and safety at work extends to visitors, clients, and vendors who spend time on your premises, and demonstrating best practices around health and safety can also form a vital part of the backdrop of your brand reputation.

Whether you run a café or a construction company, meeting New Zealand’s legal requirements for workplace safety by crafting tangible, actionable policies is vital to creating a healthy and safe workplace culture.

While it’s definitely important, drawing up effective health and safety policies in NZ doesn’t always feel easy. There is a lot of information to wade through; you need to identify which parts are relevant to your business, and before you even start drawing up your policy documents, you must conduct a thorough assessment of your daily operations in order to pinpoint where policies are best directed.

At Smart Safety Solutions, we work with clients daily who feel challenged by the work necessary to create robust documentation. 

To simplify the process, we’ve assembled this guide to crafting policies for your workplace health and safety. Read on to discover some fundamentals of the drafting process with experienced insights from our team.

The Steps for Crafting Effective Health and Safety Policies

A note before we begin: this is by no means a comprehensive breakdown of our recommended approach to crafting effective policies. This is a high-level overview to help guide the way. It pays to craft your policies with expert oversight, and the team at Smart Safety Solutions is always happy to help.

Consult National Health and Safety Standards

The first step towards effective policies is to understand what you are creating a policy or procedure for. You should then consult New Zealand’s health and safety requirements. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 2015 (hereafter, ‘the Act’) determines minimum legal compliance in New Zealand. 

Any workplace safety policies should use these requirements as a foundation and then expand on them to align with the unique needs of your business.

If you wish to go beyond minimum legal compliance – which we recommend – speak to our team about the best way to approach auditable regulations that are not enforced by WorkSafe in their entirety but contribute sizeably to a healthy and safe workplace.

Conduct a Safety Audit

Once you understand the basic health and safety requirements outlined in the Act, the next step is to determine how you measure up. If you are an existing business drafting new health and safety policies, consider conducting an internal compliance audit to review how well your process aligns with your ideal expectations.

In this case, it’s helpful to contract SafePlus-accredited experts like Smart Safety Solutions to conduct the audit for you. This mimics the experience of an external WorkSafe audit, allows you to understand where policy revisions might be necessary and gives you access to a comprehensive toolkit. 

This approach can help you to work towards creating an environment where health and safety become an integrated part of your culture. 

Involve All Workers in the Discussion

Every business is unique, even within its industry, so it’s smart to include all employees in the conversation when creating health and safety policies.

If you’re incorporating a new company, you could allow your employees to contribute their points of view on what has worked in past workplaces. If you’re revamping your existing policies, you can invite different teams to the table to tailor relevant policies to suit their daily operations.

Involving all your employees in the discussion before putting your policies in black and white creates a culture of continuous improvement and engagement. Employees know that they can reach out to you if they notice the need to add or pivot policy, which can help to reduce the likelihood of health and safety incidents. 

This type of discussion will enrich your policies, putting everyone on the same page when it comes to health and safety at work. At Smart Safety Solutions, we can help you proactively involve your team.

Make Documentation Clear and Accessible

A well-trained staff member is inherently a safer staff member. Training and effectively inducting your staff around newly formed policies is vital to crafting effective health and safety policies. You could have the best policy documents in the country, but they will make no difference if you are not integrating safer practices into your daily operations.

Once your policy creation or review is complete, be sure to collate all the documentation in an easily accessible place for all employees. Usually, a secure, digital, cloud-based location is best. Use your documents to implement company-wide training on the new updates, ensuring all employees are aware of how the changes might impact their regular tasks.

Engage Professional Safety Consultants

Navigating the intricacies of health and safety policies in NZ can present many challenges, and it’s best to do so under the guidance of experts. Not only does this ensure a healthier workplace all around, but it may also minimise your liability should an incident occur.

With the right attitude, attention to detail, and expert guidance, your business can be prepared for anything.

Prepare your business for anything and everything.

Enhance overall safety and drastically reduce workplace risks with comprehensive, achievable health and safety policies.

Engage Smart Safety Solutions to guide you or spearhead the creation of your company’s policies, enabling you to prepare for compliance audits, minimise dangerous incidents, and encourage a natural culture of health and safety at work.

Ready to begin? Reach out to our accredited team for a free consultation.