No matter what sort of business you are involved in, you’ll probably need to consider safety issues at some time or other. You might need to assemble a safety report for your management, discussing issues within your company.
If you’re in a heavily regulated industry such as construction, manufacturing, or transportation, you may be required to produce a safety plan before you can begin a new project.
Or perhaps you’re in the business of promoting safety or selling safety equipment to others, in which case you need to pitch your goods or services to potential customers. In all these cases, you need to know how to write a basic safety proposal.
You are most likely a manager or a salesperson, not a writer. But don’t worry. It’s not as hard to write a proposal as you might think. Every business proposal has a basic structure: introduction, a section that discusses needs, followed by a section that describes the proposed solution (usually goods and/or services) to those needs, and finally, a section that describes the supplier of those goods or services. In the case of an in-house proposal, the final section might also describe the background of the proposal writer.
Notice that the section about you comes last. That’s because a good proposal should be focused on what the client needs or what the situation calls for. After you prove you understand those needs and have proposed solutions to meet those needs, then it’s time to tell the reader why you are worth listening to.
You could start off with any blank word processing file and create your proposal from scratch. But if you want to make your life easier, and especially if you have a need to write multiple proposals or reports, it might be wise to start with a pre-designed proposal kit. Like the name implies, proposal kits are used for writing proposals (as well as other business documents). A good kit will include templates, instructions, samples, and simple assembly software that will make the process of writing proposals and reports quick and painless.
Let’s work through a basic safety proposal from start to finish. First, the introduction section: simply write a brief cover letter explaining who you are, why you’re writing, and what you’d like the reader to do after considering your proposal (this last bit is commonly known as a “call to action”). Be sure to provide contact information so the reader can easily find you to get additional details. After the cover letter, you’ll want a title page, which is exactly what it sounds like: just a name for your proposal, like “Safety Plan for QRS Company” or “Safety Supply Services Proposed for FGH Company.” If your proposal is reasonably simple, that’s all you need in the way of an introduction section. If your proposal is long or complex, you might want to include a Table of Contents followed by an Executive Summary (a list of the major points you make in the proposal).
Next comes the needs section. Here you should prove that you understand your potential client and/or the situation in question. Simply put yourself in the shoes of the proposal readers. What questions will they have? They want to understand your reasoning, so research the company or situation and describe any pertinent history or background. Have there been accidents in the past that must be prevented in the future? Is your company retrofitting your corporate campus to prevent potential earthquake or hurricane damage? Does a client need new safety equipment or workplace safety training? Are new regulations in place that must be followed? What limitations might the decision makers have (like budget or time)? Describe all these needs and requirements.
Following the needs section is the solution section. Explain how you plan to meet the needs you just described. The pages in this solution section may vary greatly, depending on what you are proposing. For example, you might be asking management to institute an in-house training program for the company’s truck drivers. Or you might be selling safety equipment such as hard hats, hazardous materials suits, and fall restraint systems to mining companies or construction supervisors. You could be explaining the changes your manufacturing company must make to meet new government regulations. You may be proposing a new, safer system for packaging and transporting chemicals across the country. In any case, describe exactly what it is that you are offering or proposing to do. You also need to explain the costs, as well as any options and scheduling issues associated with your proposal.
Finally, it’s time to explain why you are writing this proposal. Describe your experience, your training, any awards you’ve won or certifications you have, and list past clients, referrals, or testimonials – in short, tell the reader why you are the best person to do the job or make these recommendations. Finally, repeat your “call to action,” asking readers to take the next step – call you to set up a meeting, sign the contract, fund the program, whatever you want them to do next.
Proofread your proposal, making sure spelling and grammar are correct, and check each page to make sure it looks appealing. Remember that your proposal represents you; you want it to look and sound professional. Then print your proposal or package it as a PDF file, and deliver it to your readers.
That’s it! Not so intimidating, is it? You know your business, you know the ideas you need to pitch to your readers, and now you know how to structure a proposal. Time is money, and you want to present the best proposal you can, so consider giving yourself a big head start with a pre-designed proposal kit. Add a professional and polished look to your final proposal or report, so you can be sure your proposal will look as professional as it sounds.