Legal Blog

What is a Workplace Safety Policy? Three Important Takeaways from Recent Events.

The recent killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, on the set of the movie Rust, provides a solemn reminder that all workplaces may be subject to tragedy without careful oversight. While details are still emerging on what happened, the loss and injury of life are devastating.

The incident is also a reminder that, in many cases, workplace safety incidents can be prevented. Ultimately, no employer wants the burden of calling an employee’s loved one to inform them that something has happened to their health on the job. Further, significant legal liability can attach if employers do not provide controls or mechanisms for managing incidents.

Workplace safety policies are essential in every industry – including the remote workforce. Here are some tips on updating (or creating) your policy:

  1. Include specific details on reporting incidents and potential incidents. Depending on the industry, different managers may or may not have the skillset or experience to deal with every incident. Make clear in your policy who should be contacted and how if something “comes up” at work. Err on the side of caution and encourage employees to report any suspicious or potentially harmful actions. Knowing about an incident early can potentially save lives and resources.


  1. Include information on training. A policy without training will not be as effective. Make sure that employees and managers of all levels are trained on how to handle concerns and/or actual incidents by training quarterly – or at the minimum, annually. In the COVID-19 era, training can be held virtually or however is most beneficial with an interactive component so that questions can be answered.


  1. “Close the loop.” Detail in your policy how concerns will be handled. Further, debrief security and health threats to the workplace as frequently as possible. Even if you cannot legally disclose the identity of an individual (i.e., in the COVID-19 context, someone with the virus), you can let your team know that the issue happened and has been addressed. This approach keeps everyone on the same page and with the same mission: to keep the workplace safe.

Feel free to reach out to me to discuss your workplace safety policy.

Contact me at or 703.745.1849


Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.






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