Oct 04, 2017

Writing an OH&S Policy

The OHSAS 18001 standard does not have many requirements for compulsory documentation, but one of these is that an organization needs to have a documented OH&S Policy. The requirement is in fact that top management needs to define the occupational health and safety policy.

While the actual OH&S Policy for an organization will differ widely depending on the exact nature of the business, some general guidelines can be used to define one for your company.

The OH&S Policy underlines the overall direction and intentions of how the organization will handle occupational health and safety concerns. Top management needs to make this statement, as it is a crucial instruction for how each employee in the organization should perform his or her job relative to occupational health and safety. The policy is where the commitments that an organization makes to manage and improve their occupational health and safety within the company is stated.

What should be in the policy?

Like other ISO standards, there are various shared requirements that policies must contain.


– This is not something that you need to write in the policy, but it is something you should remember when writing a policy. Any OH&S Policy must be suitable to the type and OH&S risks in your company. If your company is under construction, you can’t write your OH&S policy to reflect office hazards.


– In the policy, you need to commit that your company will take specific actions to prevent ill health and injuries. The policy does not have to detail of how you’ll prevent injuries and ill health, but you should be able to point someone to that detail when you are being audited.

Commitment & Improvement

– A major reason why companies implement a management system is so that the processes are identified and these can then be improved. The OH&S policy should contain a commitment to the principle of continuous improvement of how the processes impact on occupational health and safety. Once again, there is no need describe how this will be done, only that the organization is committed to making it happen.

Legal & other requirements

– Lastly, the organization needs to commit that it will comply with legal, as well as other requirements that are applicable to occupational health and safety.

In the outline for objectives, you describe the details that apply to your company. Here you will define plans to reach the objectives relating to the improvement of the company’s occupational health and safety. Note that both the plans and the objectives must support the OH&S policy. Be careful not to add anything to the policy that you won’t be able to act on when you implement plans to improve the system.

Documented, implemented & maintained

– Apart from having to be documented, your OH&S Policy must be implemented. This involves making plans and allocating resources to ensure that the commitments made in your policy actually happens. With time, you need to review and update the policy on a regular basis. These updates need to reflect the changes in the organization’s OH&S hazards. These updates are required in the standard as so that the policy can be maintained.


– Staff needs to be told about the company’s policy and understand how their daily activities match with occupational health and safety risks within the company. An employee doesn’t need to know the policy by heart but should understand its intention and how their actions affect reaching the goals.


– The OH&S Policy should be shared with people outside the company that want to know the details. This is different from other standards that don’t have this requirement. The policy could be published on the company’s website, or given to interested parties who ask. This requirement indirectly enables you to use the investment in an OH&S management system as a tool for publicity.

Writing your policy

Although there are a number of requirements regarding the policy, that doesn’t mean you have to write a book. There is no requirement that you have to describe how you’ll fulfill the requirements, only that you state that you will actually do them. This means that the policy can be viewed as a statement of intent and it can be written on one page or even one paragraph. Make sure the policy is as easy to understand as possible, but include enough detail so that it is meaningful and will help your employees know what you intend to do about improving the occupational health and safety of your organization.

MyEasyISO has separate modules for Policies and Objectives where you can define multiple Policies for different ISO standards. This makes it easy to integrate the requirements of multiple standards into one integrated system.

ISO 9001 quality management systems QMS software is implemented using MyEasyISO in London (England), while ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Health Safety Management Systems HSE software is implemented in Rome (Italy).

Sree Vidhya

CRM Specialist At Effivity
Sree has over 7+ years of experience. She excels in building strong client relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction. Sree's expertise and dedication help drive Effivity's commitment to exceptional customer service.

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