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Policies You Must Have In Your HSW Handbook

Published May 26, 2021 Author: Employsure
Employees lifting boxes in the workplace.

Every workplace has hazards, which is anything that has the potential to cause harm to a person. A risk is the likelihood that harm will occur. Part of an employer’s duty under workplace health and safety legislation is to keep workers healthy and safe as far as reasonably practicable, and to minimise, if not eliminate, the hazards and any risks of harm.

The work environment and culture can play an important part in keeping your workers safe and it is important to put processes in place as part of managing any health and safety risks. These should be documented in workplace policies and procedures.

Why Do I Need A HSW Handbook?

To help contain potential hazards in your business, it is important to assess any possible risks, have processes in place to control those risks, to educate your workers as to those processes and their obligation to keep themselves safe, within reason, and to enforce the policies consistently.

Documenting the processes in policies and putting them in a handbook provides employees with easy reference to one document where they can find all the key information regarding health and safety standards and requirements, and expectations and obligations within their workplace.

BrightHR allows you to store employee profiles and key documents such as contracts and handbooks securely in the cloud and determine employee access. You can upload updated polices and handbooks, set reminders and notifications of key dates, and get read receipts once your employees have accessed the latest version.

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What Policies Should I Include In The HSW Handbook?

What policies you include in your handbook depend on your workplace and the industry you are in as the hazards in your business may differ. According to WorkSafe NZ, common types of injury in the workplace include:

  • Body Stress mainly Muscular stress when lifting, carrying or putting down objects; and
  • Slips, Trips and Falls, specifically falls on the same level.

Muscular Stress

Muscular stress usually occurs through repetitious manual tasks, where workers repeat the same movements, or strenuous work, such as heavy lifting. Muscular Stress commonly affects the back, forearms, wrists, hands, neck, and shoulders.

You can look at the workplace environment, including design, layout, systems, processes and the tools and equipment the employee is using, as well as the actual tasks involved, and then try and put measures in place to reduce the stress on the employee’s body. Make the employee aware of the risks of injury and train them in safe (manual handling) practices. Provide them with ergonomically designed equipment if available, and try and reduce the amount of repetitive tasks, or rotate them where possible.

BrightHR and BrightSafe offer online learning modules that you can use to train staff particularly in respect of their health and safety obligations.

Slips, Trip And Falls

Choose an appropriate floor type for the job, keep it in good repair, and make sure the floors are kept clear, clean and dry. Workers need to take responsibility for mopping up their spills and keeping their workspace clean.

Another thing to consider is the work environment, for example the lighting and any sudden distractions or conditions that may take the employee by surprise. Finally, make sure the employees have appropriate footwear for the work environment and the job they are doing.

If you need help with your health and safety at work policies and procedures, call us for free initial advice on 0800 568 012.

This article has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after publication may affect the completeness or accuracy of this information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions contained in this information or any failure to update or correct this information. It is your responsibility to assess and verify the accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability of the information on this website, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Nothing contained on this website is to be interpreted as a recommendation to use any product, process or formulation or any information on this website. For clarity, Employsure does not recommend any material, products or services of any third parties. 

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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