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Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series

OHSAS 18001:2007

Our civilization has moved to the industrial age, then to the information age, and now to the knowledge age, which means that people and their health become the first priority for companies because people, and only people, determine the success of businesses, and companies more and more depend on their employees.

Since the early industrial age, there is a need to reduce high costs of occupational injuries, illness and fatalities. However, despite dedicated efforts from all interested parties, annual Occupational Health and Safety Canadian statistics report thousands of work fatalities, injuries and illnesses, which result in millions of working days lost.

The Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001 (OHSAS) standards have been developed by the British Standards Institute in response to customers' demand for a recognizable Occupational Health and Safety Management System standard against which management systems can be assessed. Progressive businesses go beyond compulsory measures and promote continuous improvement on health and safety matters. The OHSAS 18001:2007 standard is concentrated on moving beyond regulatory compliance ((risk reduction) toward more polices based on prevention (hazard elimination).

With the success of the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 series of standards, the OHSAS 18001:2007 is developed to be compatible with the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System and the ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System and addresses Occupational Health and Safety rather than product and services safety. To allow for easy integration into a Company's management system, many sections are similar, such as management review, document control and corrective and preventive actions.

Structure of the OHSAS 18001:2007

The core concept of the OHSAS 18001:2007: Where no hazard exists, no accident can occur.

The core elements of the OHSAS 18001:2007 are:

Management Commitment and Involvement

Hazard Identification, Analysis, Control, and Communication - both inspections that shall be performed by trained professionals in a systematic manner and investigations that shall be conducted "after the fact" establish Job Hazard Analysis. Hazard Communication requires communicating policies, procedures, and best practices, obtaining employee feedback regarding the existence of unrecognized hazards, and establishing a safety culture in the company.

Employee Involvement and Training

The core process of the OHSAS 18001:2007 is focused on the systematic and formal identification of workplace hazards and risk assessment, which is associated with these hazards, and then implementation of controls in order to eliminate or at least minimize these hazards or their risks.

The other core processes of the OHSAS 18001:2007 are designed to determine, assign, and monitor occupational health and safety improvement objectives.

The supporting processes of the OHSAS 18001:2007 provide an awareness of legal and other requirements, communicate health and safety to employees, ensure competency of employees, create an adequate infrastructure, evaluate performance, and support document control, record control, and internal auditing.

The OHSAS 18001:2007 standard's content:

4.1 General requirements

4.2 OH&S policy

4.3.1 Planning for hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control

4.3.2 Legal and other requirements

4.3.3 Objectives

4.3.4 OH&S management program

4.4.1 Structure and responsibility

4.4.2 Training, awareness and competence

4.4.3 Consultation and communication

4.4.4 Documentation

4.4.5 Document and data control

4.4.6 Operational control

4.4.7 Emergency preparedness and response

4.5 Checking and corrective action

4.5.1 Performance measurement and monitoring

4.5.2 Accidents, incidents, non-conformances and corrective and preventive actions

4.5.3 Records and records management

4.5.4 Audit

4.6 Management review

For companies that have already certified to the OHSAS 18001:1999 a two-year transition period has been agreed, to end on 1 July 2009. The companies have sufficient time to make changes and start implementing the alignments in order to benefit from the new standard.


Benefits of the Formal Health and Safety Management System OHSAS 18001:2007

The benefits of the Occupation Health and Safety Management System connects with the level of development of the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard.

The first level of development is the compliance phase, and this phase normally focuses on getting a basic system in place and compliance with regulatory requirements and the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard. Usually, the internal audits reveal numerous conformance deficiencies, and if the companies realize only initial significant benefits and never move to the next level of development, then such companies may complain that the management system no longer provides valuable benefits.

The next level of development is the effectiveness phase, and this phase normally focuses on results and occurs when conformance becomes less of an issue. Usually, the internal audits take more time considering the effectiveness of processes, and all the areas, where the effectiveness is not appropriate, are targeted for improvement. Also, the internal audits uncover more and more opportunities for improvement. In this phase, the profitability of the company grows because of higher productivity and improved performance.

The final level of development is the continual improvement phase, and this phase normally focuses on hazard elimination and error proofing. In this phase, the internal audits concentrate on the implementation of best practices. Innovation and creativity become widespread throughout the company. At this phase, all of the primary benefits are realized and profitability grows constantly and significantly.

The OHSAS 18001:2007

Improves company image by demonstrating a commitment to implement, maintain and constantly improve an Occupational Health and Safety System, which creates a corporate culture that values worker safety as much as production and profit

Provides effective means of continuous improvement in workers' protection and Health and Safety statistics

Improves organization's public reputation

Improves employees involvement, increasing productivity and employees morale

Provides a framework to assist in identifying applicable legislation from approximately 300 items currently in place

States a clear set of objectives for improvement, with measurable results

Requires monitoring of compliance with identified legislation (approximately 25 company directors are currently serving prison sentences as a result of health and safety violations)

Promotes communication and consultation with all employees on matters relating to health and safety

Helps participating organizations meet requirements of due diligence and reasonable care imposed by law

Creates and maintains positive communications with all interested parties, including the legal authorities, shareholders, financial institutions, insurances, and others

Improves response time and accident prevention

Improves the effectiveness and efficiency of corrective and preventative actions management

Provides the monitoring of health and safety management issues, auditing of performance through policies and procedures and review of policies and objectives

Requires a planned and documented approach to health and safety training

Provides solid ground to establish assessment and control of the Occupational Health and Safety risks

Reduces the risk of emergency situations, work-related accidents and illness

Reduces or even eliminates likelihood of paying regulatory compliance fees, fines, and liabilities associated with Occupational Health and Safety injuries, accidents and illness

Reduces risk of citations and penalties

Provides instant visibility of corporate-wide Health and Safety data

Reports incidents and investigation information consistently across your business

The OHSAS 18001:2007 management system can be applied to any type of business. Certification of approval to OHSAS 18001 series is separate from other management system certificates, as the service is not accredited but was developed to reduce and prevent accidents and accident-related injury resulting in loss of lives and resources. OHSAS 18001:2007 is unique in its global acceptance and practical way of delivering a better work environment and continued improvement. To conclude, you may implement the OHSAS 18001:2007 and make a self-determination and declaration of conformance with this standard.