Establishing a policies and procedures manual

March 19, 2020 By    

Does your propane company have a set of clearly defined policies and procedures? Policies and procedures are a guide that should be specific to your company to identify how exactly you will implement national, state and local code requirements within your daily operations. Here we address what exactly a policies and procedures manual is, why your propane company needs this manual and how it will benefit your company’s safety and compliance program.

Q: What are policies?
A: Policies can be considered the “big picture” of your company’s daily operations. Written policies include language to cover legal issues that may arise due to the nature of the business, customer and employee health and welfare, and ethical concerns that may put the organization or employee in a position of conflict.

Q: What are procedures?
A: Procedures are the actual steps that are undertaken to uphold written policies. Written procedures identify individual tasks, who is responsible for the completion of each task, what steps are involved in the process, the sequence of each step and how the progression of steps is performed.

Q: Am I required to have a policies and procedures manual?
A: Policies and procedures are not explicitly required. However, they do cover many industry-regulated safety requirements. A policies and procedures manual includes regulatory requirements, like Occupational Safety & Health Administration emergency action plans and hazardous communications programs, and Department of Transportation (DOT) training documentation. If your propane company has a bulk plant, your policies and procedures manual will also cover specific guidelines required by the National Fire Protection Association and DOT Code of Federal Regulations, as well as additional state and local codes.

Q: Can a policies and procedures manual help with employee training?
A: Yes. Policies and procedures are used for initial and continuous employee training. Your company’s policies and procedures manual guides required classroom and hands-on training to tailor training to your company’s specific needs.

Q: How will a policies and procedures manual protect my company?
A: The saying in our industry goes, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.” Establishing clear, consistent policies and procedures is the best way to ensure that your team’s operations are performed and completed properly. Policies and procedures are an affordable risk mitigation tool that delivers many significant benefits, including preventing safety hazards and protecting your company in the event of litigation.

Eric H. Leskinen is the executive vice president of P3 Propane Safety.

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