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Hiring for safety: Policies, procedures, and rules

Formalize your expectations to show employees that you care as much about their safety and health as you do production, quality, profitability, and customer service.

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Creating a safe and healthy work environment is a requirement for Oregon employers; it’s also a best practice among top-performing businesses. Formalizing your expectations, including step-by-step instructions for job tasks, shows employees that you care as much about their safety and health as you do production, quality, profitability, and customer service. Having well-written policies and rules protects you and your employees, and provides your company with the flexibility to manage your business needs.

This handout can help you get started. You should also consult with legal counsel or a human resource professional as you draft policies, procedures, and rules.

Put it in writing

Safety procedures cover specific activities and steps taken to maintain safety. Some are task-specific; others are general descriptions regarding policies. To be effective, safety procedures should be in writing and communicated to employees through training. Hands on training is critical: Show employees how to do a procedure, then ask them to demonstrate their understanding by doing it themselves.

Here are some examples of safety procedures:

  • How to report a hazard
  • Step-by-step lockout/tagout procedure
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Hazard communication/chemical use
  • Emergency plans

Follow the rules

Safety rules describe what to do or avoid when working safely. Keep in mind:

  • No single list of safety rules works for every business.
  • Develop safety rules based on standard industry practices and accident experience. Don’t rely solely on generic lists or examples.
  • All rules must be completely and clearly communicated to everyone.
  • All rules must be consistently enforced.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations when creating rules for equipment.
  • Use Oregon OSHA’s Rules for all Workplaces as a guide: osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules/div1/437-001-0760.pdf

Learn more

Stay healthy by getting good sleep and plenty of exercise. Don’t use tobacco products. Nourish your body with wholesome food and beverages. Minimize stress.

Find additional resources for managing your safety program here:



For more on this topic, visit our employee policy page.