What is OHSAS 18001?

The Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System provides an outline for organizations to detect and control health and safety risks, reduce the possible accidents, comply with legislation and increase operational performance.

OHSAS 18001 is the requirement standard for the OH&S Management System, and has been updated and renamed OHSAS 18001:2007. The update reflects the knowledge realized from prevalent use of the standard around the world, while also offering more emphasis on “Health” as opposed to only “Safety”.

The specification is compatible with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management system standards.

OHSAS 18001 requires formal documentation of the areas covered by an organization’s OH&S policy. Evidence of operation according to standard requirements is also necessary. This standard is vital for any organization that wishes to conform to legislation as well as prove to stakeholders and employees that systems are established to minimize and eradicate risks.

The following steps are required to implement this standard:

  • Create an OH&S policy: The policy should be authorized by senior management, be suitable to the organization and detect health and safety risks. It should also be available to all stakeholders, pledge continual improvement and be reviewed on a recurrent basis.
  • Produce a system for risk management: A health and safety procedure must be established to identify risks, evaluate their probability and impact, and set controls to diminish the effects of these risks. This procedure will also assist in isolating training requirements and operational controls.
  • Detect relevant legislation and requirements: A formal method is applied to identify all applicable health and safety legislation and requirements.
  • Set Objectives: Once risks and legal requirements are identified objectives can be set to decrease or eradicate risks and conform to applicable legislation and requirements.
  • Design and implement systems to accomplish the objectives: Systems must be designed and implemented in order to meet the objectives outlined above. These should ascertain accountability and authority, and determine how and when objectives should be attained. Systems should undergo review often and be adjusted as needed.
  • Track and measure: The performance of the OH&S Management System must be tracked and measured consistently to confirm that it meets objectives. This phase typically comprises audits, analysis of events, non-conformances and preventative actions and a review of progress in comparison to objectives.

What are the benefits of OHSAS 18001?

This standard allows organizations to manage the risks related to operational activities. It will also show commitment to stakeholders, increase operational performance through improved accident management and minimize downtime with a related insurance premiums decrease and reduced penalties for legislation breach.

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