By Julia Kunlo, CSP | Posted on: October 7, 2021

A written safety manual is often seen as the backbone of a workplace safety program. These documented processes are powerful tools, helping to outline expectations, train employees, bid work, and even avoid legal trouble. What many people don’t know, however, is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict guidelines pertaining to what topics must be included in a written safety program. Are you sure that your company’s safety manual is OSHA compliant?

Authoring a safety manual that meets OSHA standards requires knowledge and research. Lucky for you, we’ve done the digging through multiple references so you can quickly understand what your business needs. Based upon your business category (construction, general industry, or both), read below to learn what topics are required and their corresponding OSHA standard – with clickable links.

1. Global Requirements (Regardless of Industry)

Regardless of if your business is categorized as “construction” or “general industry”, the following topics must be addressed in your manual:


2. Construction Industry Requirements

If your business is categorized as construction, then OSHA 29 CFR 1926 applies. The following topics must be address in your manual:


3. General Industry Requirements

If your business is categorized as general industry, then OSHA 29 CFR 1910 applies. The following topics must be address in your manual:


When building a written safety manual, it is important that companies understand the minimum requirements as outlined by OSHA. This understanding will help to create a program that is well-equipped to protect businesses from legal or regulatory trouble. In addition, it is equally as important to build a manual that can be used as a practical and helpful tool for your business, training your team on how you expect them to perform safely in the field. Consider adding additional “best in class” procedures to your manual (such as defensive driving, heat/cold stress, job hazard analysis, etc.) to build a written program that is truly top-level. If you need assistance with auditing your current manual or making improvements, the experts at ESR are ready and available to help. We offer free consultations and will develop complimentary improvement plans.