All employers have the responsibility and duty of care when it comes to their workers, customers, and members of the public. Very strict laws and a growing awareness of worker health and safety have led to increased pressure on enterprises to demonstrate their commitment to managing occupational health and safety risks. Failure by enterprises to do so will certainly put their commercial sustainability and overall brand image at risk. This is where OHSAS 18001 comes in. It provides the framework for setting up and improving a management system specifically for management and control of health and safety risks at the workplace.
OHSAS 18001 is the internationally recognised standard that provides a framework for optimal occupational health and safety management. It is relevant to companies of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy. It provides an effective structure to help reduce risks at the workplace, while also improving the work conditions and meeting the requirements as set out by relevant legislation in the country. The standard is about protection of the employees, but it also has the purpose of ensuring the prolonged existence of the company. By implementing the standard, you can improve the safety profile of your work environment, significantly reduce the risk of accidents and related injuries, and demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to best practices related to health and safety.
What is an OHSAS 18001 management system?
It is basically a framework with a proper structure for managing the human resources, processes, and company resources in such a way as to promote employee well-being and health at the workplace. The organisation can, for instance, have the objectives of reducing and completely eliminating risks and hazards forming part of the organisation’s operations as related to health and safety. By focussing on this objective, workplace conditions are improved and the company ensures compliance with the relevant legislative requirements.
Implementation benefits of a BS OHSAS 18001-compliant management system include:
It is important for senior management to understand the benefits and to communicate them with the other employees. This will help them understand why adherence to the requirements of OHSAS 18001 is to the benefit of each employee and the organisation as a whole. The standard is not just applicable to large companies operating in mining and engineering or construction; it is applicable to every type of organisation whether in the service, manufacturing, mining, or even the retail sector. It provides a written method for improving the health and safety at the workplace. However, it is flexible enough to be relevant to any type or size of enterprise. The standard requires the organisation to show that it has followed a systematic approach to ensure proper management of hazards and risks in line with the country’s legislation.
The three main principles of the standard are:
How Ongoing Improvement Works and Why It is Important
Using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle makes it possible for the organisation to optimally manage and ensure ongoing improvement in the company’s occupational health and safety management effectiveness. This is relevant to the top-level, mid-level, and supervisory management, and the individual employee.
The Plan phase entails the setting of the organisation’s objectives, including analysis of the current systems in place and the setting of overall goals, and the various targets for assessment and development of plans to achieve the targets and overall goals. It entails identification of hazards, the conducting of risk assessments, and the setting of controls.
This entails the implementation of the developed plans within the framework provided by OHSAS 18001. Appoint a management representative to take responsibility for the availability of the relevant resources and performance compliance of the management system with the requirements of OHSAS 18001. Awareness development must be encouraged and employees must be trained to be competent in their jobs and implementation of OHSAS 18001 and the measurement of performance and corrective actions.
Promote staff involvement in hazard and risk identification, assessments, and investigations of incidents. It is essential to create the right communication channels to also make sure customers, visitors to the premises, suppliers, and contractors are aware of the health and safety regulations and procedures. It is furthermore important to ensure that the required documentation and records are in place and updated according to the framework of OHSAS 18001. Risk controls must be measured on a regular basis and properly managed. You need to keep record of goods, services, and equipment purchased, and of who visited the premises. Plans must be in place for responding to emergencies and these plans must be tested and reviewed on a regular basis.
Check and Act
The phase entails measurement and monitoring of the performance results against the planned results. Make corrections where needed and the necessary improvements to ensure that the actual results are the same as the planned results. This calls for an ongoing process of monitoring and measurement to ensure that the objectives can be reached. Proper calibration of equipment for monitoring and measuring must be done and the records of this must be available for inspection. The enterprise documentation must be evaluated to ensure that the latest legislative requirements are met. Proper procedures must be in place and followed for investigating incidents, analysing them, determining their causes, and non-conformances to prevent repeated incidents. Internal audits must be conducted, records kept, and regular management reviews scheduled.
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