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14 things you can do to help your employees understand your health and safety procedures

by , 29 October 2014
To get your company to comply with the OHS Act, you need health and safety procedures. You also need your employees to follow them.

If your procedures are confusing and difficult to follow, the chances are your employees won't bother. This means your company could land up with a non-compliance fine from the DoL.

But, if you use these 14 things to make your procedures more readable, your employees will understand them better and follow them...

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Do you want to be fined, jailed or have a criminal record for life?
If an accident occurs in your workplace, and the person dies, you could be charged with culpable homicide, charged penalties of R100 000 or 2 years in jail! The CEO or Owner of a company is personally accountable for health and safety at work. 

Make your health and safety procedures more readable by doing these 14 things

1. Use action verbs and write in the present tense;
2. Use imperatives such as 'do it' instead of 'you should do it';
3. Write as though you were talking to the person doing the procedures at the time;
4. Keep your sentences short. Break long sentences up into two or three thoughts and make each one a new sentence.
5. Avoid jargon and rather use everyday language when you refer to technical materials;
6. Explain any technical terms you have to use and spell out abbreviations;
7. Keep your paragraphs short and try make each one a separate idea;
8. Illustrate your ideas by writing examples or use graphs;
9. When using a computer, use desktop publishing and graphic software to make your manual more attractive;
10. Try to include: 
- Flowcharts;
- A diagram; 
- A chart; 
- A picture; or
- Examples to clarify your words;
11. Phrase ideas in a positive way;
12. Try to stick to an overall reasonable length with your procedures;
13. Go back to your outline and check for suggestions on how to break up your text into sections; and
14. Clearly divide your procedures up by subject and page number.
If you do these 14 things when you create your health and safety procedures manual, it will be more readable so your employees can easily follow it. 
Check out the Health and Safety Advisor for more on how to create your health and safety procedures. 

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