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Are your HSE procedures clear enough for your employees to understand?

by , 27 March 2013
It's common practice to put procedures in place in your business, to ensure your employees are following the rules you know are necessary to maintain the safety and health of your company.

But, what if writing isn't really your forte? You know it's your responsibility, but quite frankly you may as well not write them for all the good they'll do because people will battle to understand them!

It's possible you're being a little hard on yourself...but let's have a look at what you must do to make sure your Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) procedures are easy to understand...

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Do you know...
 
What every employee must know about fire safety?
What you should have in your first aid box?
How many health and safety representatives you should have?
What you need to know to do a risk assessment?
Ensure that all your employees are empowered with the knowledge to behave in a manner that's conducive to the safety, health and working environment.
 
Get the answers to all of these questions here.
 
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Here's a checklist to make sure your HSE procedures are clear and easy to read
 
Use these questions as a guide when you draft your HSE procedures:
  • Do you use action verbs, and write in the present tense?
  • Do you use the imperative ('do it', not 'you should do it'; 'it will be done' or 'it should be done')
  • Do you write as though you were talking to the person doing the procedure at the time?
  • Do you keep your sentences short?
  • Do you break long sentences into two or more thoughts, and make each thought a separate sentence?
  • Do you avoid jargon?
  • When you're referring to technical material, such as OHSA standards, do you write in everyday language?
  • Do you explain technical terms, and spell out abbreviations so that everyone understands what you mean?
  • Do you keep your paragraphs short? Does each express a separate idea?
  • Do you illustrate your ideas with written examples, or even with graphics?
  • When using a computer, do you use desktop publishing and graphics software, which makes the document more attractive and therefore more readable?
  • Do you include flowcharts, diagrams, charts, pictures or examples for visually-oriented people?
  • Do you put ideas in a positive way? Do you say 'Do this job this way, because it's safer' rather than 'Don't do that, because it's dangerous'?
  • Do you keep your procedures to a reasonable length? Or do they extend over three pages?
  • Do you go back to your outline? This helps you break up your long text into several manageable short procedures
  • If you must keep the text in one comprehensive procedure, do you divide it into sections, clearly identified by subject and page numbers on the first page?
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Are you a safety Officer?
 
Make your job easier with these tips, tools, templates and advice.
 
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And the results are in...
 
Do your current procedures meet all of the above criteria? If yes, then your procedures pass the readability test.
 
BUT, if you say no, use the checklist to adapt your procedures so that all your employees can read and understand them, or you can just take the easy way out and...
 
Save yourself the time and trouble
 
We've done all the work for you in the Health and Safety Training Manual with templates, training manuals and presentations for each health and safety topic, including your employees obligations, so all you have to do is hit the print button! It's easy to read and written in simple layman terms so your employees will never have trouble understanding what's required of them!
 
In the name of safety,

 
Kerusha Narothan
Managing Editor: Health and Safety Training Manual 
 
P.S. Discover the secret  why Max Lane won't have to worry about health and safety inspectors showing up at his door!
 


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