Policies and procedures are an essential part of any organization. Together, policies and procedures provide a roadmap for day-to-day operations. They support personal safety, ensure compliance with laws and regulations, give guidance for decision-making, and streamline internal processes.

What is the difference between a policy and a procedure?

A policy is a predetermined course of action established to provide a guide toward accepted safety strategies and objectives. Policies identify key activities and provide decision makers with a general strategy for how to handle issues as they arise.


  • Are general in nature
  • Identify company rules
  • Explain why the rule exists
  • Identify when the rule applies
  • Describe who the rule covers
  • Show how the rule is enforced
  • Describe the consequences of breaking the rule
  • Use simple sentences and paragraphs

A procedure provides individuals with a clear and easily understood plan of action to carry out for policy implementation. A well-written procedure will also help eliminate common misunderstandings by identifying job responsibilities and establishing consistent boundaries.


  • Identify specific actions
  • Explain when to act
  • Describe alternatives
  • Show emergency procedures
  • Include warnings and cautions
  • Give examples
  • Show how to complete forms

The only expectations that can be met are the ones that are clearly defined.”

Strong policies and procedures benefit all by:

  • Providing clearly defined expectations
  • Increasing work quality
  • Improving efficiency
  • Creating and promoting consistent behavior
  • Allowing employees to refresh their thought processes on non-routine tasks.

How can we improve our policies and procedures?

  • Review your programs and verify you are doing everything in accordance with your policies and procedures.
  • Update your policies and procedures regularly.
  • Make your policies and procedures readily accessible to your employees.
  • Get buy-in from your employees when developing your safety policies and procedures.
  • Incorporate your programs into your regular safety training.

Clear and concise policies and procedures enable employees to completely understand individual and team responsibilities, saving time and resources. When everyone is working off the same page, employees know the proper way to perform their tasks quickly and easily. Most employees want to play by the rules and are willing to do so – they simply need the rule book with which to play by.

RETTEW’s safety consultants help clients review their policies and procedures to identify gaps and areas requiring revision. Contact Paul O’Donnell at 800.738.8395 to schedule a consultation.

Additional Offerings

Safety training and consulting are only some of RETTEW’s 600+ services. Our safety team works hand in hand with engineers, scientists, project managers, and other technical experts at places such as manufacturing facilities, drill pads, and commercial construction sites. We are well respected in many industries and known for ensuring workers and equipment remain safe, which keeps your projects on track and your bottom line growing.