What is OHSAS 18001?
The Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series, OHSAS 18000, has been developed to help organizations control and minimize occupational health and safety risks. OHSAS 18001 is a specific standard for occupational health and safety management systems designed to eliminate or minimize the risk to employees and other interested parties who may be exposed to occupational health and safety risks associated with the business’ activities. OHSAS 18001 is compatible with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management systems. OHSAS 18001 represents a progression of a management system philosophy, from quality to environmental, continuing to occupational health and safety.
What Does OHSAS 18001 Require?
OHSAS 18001 focuses on the identification, elimination, and continual improvement of hazards and risks within the work environment. The OHSAS management system methodology is based on planning for hazard identification, risk assessment, and risk control. The OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) incorporates ISO management system elements to address these risks.
Many organizations are implementing an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) as part of their risk management strategy to address changing legislation and protect their workforce.
An OHSMS promotes a safe and healthy working environment by providing a framework that allows organizations to consistently identify and control its health and safety risks, reduce the potential for accidents, aid legislative compliance and improve overall performance.
OHSAS 18001 is the internationally recognized assessment specification for occupational health and safety management systems. It was developed by a selection of leading trade bodies, international standards and certification bodies to address a gap where no third-party certifiable international standard exists.
OHSAS 18001:2007 Standard Requirements
The following key areas are addressed by OHSAS 18001
Hazard identification, risk assessment and determining controls
Legal and other requirements
Objectives and OHS program(s)
Resources, roles, responsibility, accountability and authority
Competence, training and awareness
Communication, participation and consultation
Emergency preparedness and response
Performance measuring, monitoring and improvement
Summary of the key changes between OHSAS 18001:2007 and OHSAS 18001:1999
The importance of “health” has now been given greater emphasis.
OHSAS 18001now refers to itself as a standard, not a specification, or document, as in the earlier edition. This reflects the increasing adoption of OHSAS 18001 as the basis for national standards on occupational health and safety management systems.
The “Plan-Do-Check-Act” model diagram is only given in the Introduction, in its entirety, and not also as sectional diagrams at the start of each major clause.
Reference publications in Clause 2 have been limited to purely international documents.
New definitions have been added, and existing definitions revised.
Significant improvement in alignment with ISO 14001:2004 throughout the standard, and improved compatibility with ISO 9001:2000.
The term “tolerable risk” has been replaced by the term “acceptable risk”
The term “accident” is now included in the term “incident”
The definition of the term “hazard” no longer refers to “damage to property or damage to the workplace environment”
It is now considered that such “damage” is not directly related to occupational health and safety management, which is the purpose of this OHSAS Standard, and that it is included in the field of asset management. Instead, the risk of such “damage” having an effect on occupational health and safety should be identified through the organization’s risk assessment process, and be controlled through the application of appropriate risk controls.
Sub-clauses 4.3.3 and 4.3.4 have been merged, into a single clause 4.3.3 “Objectives and Programme(s)” in line with ISO 14001:2004.
A new requirement has been introduced for the consideration of the hierarchy of controls as part of OH&S planning.
Management of change is now more explicitly addressed.
* A new clause on the “Evaluation of compliance” has been introduced, as per ISO 14001:2004
* New requirements have been introduced for participation and consultation
* New requirements have been introduced for the investigation of incidents