Skip to main content
Nova Scotia

Develop a health and safety policy

A health and safety policy is the foundation for creating a safe workplace. It should be one of the most important policies at your workplace.

Your health and safety policy will help engage your workers in your health and safety efforts. And if your business has five or more workers, you must develop a health and safety policy. It’s the law.

Here is a sample of a health and safety policy. You may use this as a guide to develop your own – but remember that your policy should reflect the needs of your business:

Sample health and safety policy

ABC Company - Occupational Health and Safety Policy

I am committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment for my workers. 

I am committed to integrating this health and safety policy into our everyday activities. 

This policy sets out how I will fulfil my commitment.

I am responsible for the health and safety of my workers while they are at work. 

I will make every effort to provide a healthy and safe work environment.

I will eliminate hazards whenever possible. Where possible, I will eliminate the need for personal protective equipment. If that is not possible, workers must use the personal protective clothing, equipment, devices, and materials I provide.

I recognize the workers’ duty to identify hazards. I support and encourage workers to play an active role in identifying hazards and to offer suggestions or ideas to improve health and safety at our workplace.

Managers and supervisors will be trained and held responsible for ensuring that

  • workers under their supervision follow this policy
  • workers use safe work practices and receive adequate training to protect their health and safety
  • equipment and facilities are safe

Managers and supervisors will cooperate with health and safety representatives and all workers to create a healthy and safe workplace. They will extend this cooperation to others, such as contractors, owners, inspectors, and all others at or near our workplace.

Each worker must support the health and safety policy. 

Each worker must cooperate with health and safety representatives and others exercising authority under the applicable laws.

Each worker has a duty to report to a supervisor or manager any hazardous conditions, incident, injury, or illness related to the workplace as soon as possible. 

Each worker must protect their own health and safety by complying with applicable laws and by following the policies, procedures, rules, and instructions for the workplace. 

To ensure that this policy continues to meet our needs, I will invite health and safety representatives and workers to review it with me each year.

President, ABC Company

Date

How to develop a health and safety policy

Wherever possible, involve workers from all levels of your organization in creating your health and safety policy. It doesn’t need to be long and detailed. The policy just needs to reflect the work your business does  - and it needs to be written clearly so everyone in your workplace understands it and can live up to it. 

Your health and safety policy should:

  1. State your commitment to occupational health and safety.
  2. Give reasons for this commitment.
  3. Include your commitment to cooperate with workers to create a healthy and safe workplace.
  4. Outline the health and safety responsibilities of workers at all levels in your workplace.

Your health and safety policy should be a living document. It will need to change whenever job functions and business activities change. Remember to keep your policy current by revisiting it at least once a year.

Most importantly, you must bring your health and safety policy to life. Your health and safety policy is a statement of principles and general rules. It must be supported by action.

Carbon Cure discusses health and safety in their workplace

Tips for putting your health and safety policy into action

  • As the employer, you should sign the policy to show your commitment.
  • Write the policy in clear language that your workers can understand.
  • Review the policy at least once a year in cooperation with workers.
  • Make sure that every worker sees it and understands it.

© 2015 Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia & Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education