A policy is an overarching document that details the organisations’ objectives and the broad strategies for achieving these.

The primary policy should be the organisation’s WHS policy. If the organisation is seeking compliance with AS/NZS 4801 (Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems) there are specific requirements that must be met. For example, the WHS policy must include a commitment to measurable objectives and compliance with legislation.

Organisations may also have policies to deal with specific health and safety issues, such as manual handling or fitness for work. These may list management’s commitment in relation to the aspect, and their broad expectations of workers.

Procedures support policies. They provide more detail on the actions required and who within the organisation has specific responsibilities. They provide workers within the organisation with a greater understanding of how tasks should be undertaken.

In some instances procedures may detail the specific steps to be taken, such as a isolation procedure will detail the steps for attaching locks and tags. However they may also include mandatory actions, such as a hazardous substances procedure requiring that all chemicals are labelled.