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What should we include in our health and safety policy?

Q: What should I include in a health and safety policy for employees who work in a sales and marketing-type environment? An enterprise agreement or modern award does not cover them. The employees work in NSW in the office and visit customers' locations selling our products and services.

A: The following matters should be addressed in a workplace health and safety policy:

  1. The effect or purpose of the policy and the scope of activities that the policy covers.
  2. Who the policy applies to – be specific.
  3. Any other policies or procedures that relate to the policy.
  4. What constitutes acceptable behaviour under the terms of the policy. Use examples and definitions relevant to the policy to clearly set out acceptable behaviour.
  5. What constitutes unacceptable behaviour under the terms of the policy.
  6. What will happen if there is a breach of the policy – set out the disciplinary action or performance management procedures a worker may face for unacceptable behaviour under the terms of the policy.
  7. Who a worker should speak to if they have any queries about the policy – name any contact officer responsible for handling complaints and enquiries.
  8. The person authorising the development of the policy.
  9. Any legitimate circumstances when it may not be possible to follow the policy and the appropriate response to such circumstances.

A workplace health and safety policy will be an overarching document, which will be supported by a range of other procedures and policies that are specific to the risks in your workplace.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Health and safety policies and procedures for current advice.

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