The New Year can be a busy time for businesses. Budgets are being issued, projects are being determined, and contractors are being scheduled. However, in the midst of all the New Year hassle take some time and update your health, safety, and environmental policies.
Annual Review
Many policies and procedures for health, safety and environmental require annual reviews. Facility response plans, respiratory protection procedures, lock out – tagout procedures, and assured grounding are just a few of the procedures that should be reviewed on an annual basis.
A typical review should check that the appropriate personnel are still listed for the procedures, contact information is up to date, and that the procedures are still practiced as outlined. It is always a good idea to call any phone numbers listed to verify that the listing is still valid.
Update as Necessary
As you review your policies and procedures, make sure to red line any changes. Write down the new contact information or procedures. If you are changing procedures make sure steps are in place to train personnel on the changes. Also, you should check if your company follows a Management of Change process. If so, you may need to submit the procedural changes so that a proper review process can be conducted.
Once you red line and have reviewed all your changes, you can update the final document. You can choose to complete this process in house or via a contractor. Prior to final publication of the document, ensure that any revision or document control numbers are updated.
No Changes Needed
What happens when you review your policy and you decide that everything is okay and no changes are needed? This occasionally happens. However, you should still document the review process occurred. This is relatively easy to do when the policy or procedure is housed in an online document management system. The system can often be set up to prompt document owners that a review needs to be conducted. In the same note, once the review is completed, the owner of the document can notify the system.
However, some documents are still maintained using a series of files and word documents on the company server. Documenting a review can be as simple as creating a master spreadsheet of all the documents and their associated review dates. Or, you can insert a revision record into each policy or procedure to capture updates and reviews. In either case, documenting the review process is critical and can help during regulatory audits later.