A good safety manual is crucial to keeping employees safe in the workplace. Writing a safety manual is a very important task, because the safety of many people is in your hands. A good safety manual should be easily readable, prioritize the important issues, be based on standards and regulations, and be well written and edited. Here are the five steps to writing a safety manual.
Write your manual with the regular reader in mind. That means keeping it simple and straightforward. The people most often reading your safety manual will be the employees who consult it during their workday. Yes, regulators and officials may occasionally read it to ensure it meets standards, but they will make up a small fraction of your manual’s readership. Your writing should be free of jargon. You will sometimes need to use technical terms to accurately describe a safety procedure, but don’t make things any more complicated than is absolutely necessary. Keep your writing clear and use short, basic sentences. Remember to explain any acronyms and symbols you reference. Introductory sections can be very helpful at providing a reference for meanings of symbols and acronyms. Write using the active voice, rather than passive, to improve clarity and understanding.
Be sure to have the most critical safety concerns as your main focus. Be careful with the way you present your information. “Begin with introductory concepts before moving on to information that builds on those basics. Once you’ve covered the most important topics you can move on to related issues,” suggests Angela Cecil, writer at Assignment Help. Design your manual’s layout so that it is easy to read, a big part of that will be leaving lots of white space on the page. You can use a block of text to explain general information, but bullet points are better for information that can be easily broken down into point form. When going through step by step actions, a numbered list is a very good way of explaining things. Use headings and subheadings to break up your text into more manageable sections; this also works well for when a reader is looking to jump to a certain part.
It’s important that you reference the appropriate industry standards. The International Organization for Standards (ISO) is a good resource for when you’re beginning your manual. Make yourself aware of what the government standards are for writing a manual in your industry. Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) is a good resource to learn what practices and procedures must be covered in your manual. It’s extremely important to consult with, and follow, these regulations. Failure to comply can open your organization up to legal consequences and lawsuits.
When you’re writing a safety manual it’s extremely important to get it right. People’s lives and limbs are at stake. It’s crucial you educate yourself thoroughly using the proper sources. Consult some professionals if you’re not sure where to begin. Spend a good amount of time educating yourself on your topic, as well as all the relevant regulations. Take advantage of all the good resources out there that exist to help you. Identify every hazard that requires documentation. You may even find it necessary to produce a series, rather than a single manual.
Be sure that everything in your manual is properly written, edited, and proofread. Don’t forget to check out some online resources for help with this task. Here are some good ones to get you started:
A safety manual should be a comprehensive guide to your workplace’s commitment to safety and cover the ways employees can reduce their risk of injury. Your safety manual needs to be based on expert opinions, as well as all government regulations and industry standards. A good manual should also be clearly written and cover every topic relevant to employee safety.
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