Developing and implementing policies for an environmental, health, and safety program needs to be a collaborative effort. There are various driving factors when considering what types of policies to implement including regulations, best practice implementation, particularly hazardous operations or equipment, etc. But one key step is to always involve the end users in the development process.
Successful compliance with an established policy is most likely accomplished when you include affected employees in the decision making, especially employees who tend to be negative about policies and resist them because they seem restrictive. Invite these employees to discuss safety problems, brainstorm on solutions, and review relevant sections of regulations in your company’s environmental, health, and safety manuals. Seek feedback on what they consider the hazards to be and how they feel they should be protecting themselves. Developing a policy that is cumbersome and adds unnecessary steps for researchers will not only generate non-compliance, but also create an atmosphere where safety is not viewed in a positive light. Laboratory staff will be much more likely to proactively come to you seeking guidance once they realize you will work with them.
Once a draft document is developed, offer to review the specifics with concerned employees and listen. The goal of developing and implementing EHS policies is to protect the employees and the environment, which can be accomplished by working together. Regulatory requirements should be explained in full detail so employees are educated on the specific regulatory citations and understand why you cannot budge.
Rolling the policy out and enforcing the requirements should be done with the same collaborative outlook. Practical policies should hopefully encourage compliance and proactive outreach.