OHSAS 18001 sets out the minimum requirements for occupational health and safety management best practice. It helps you put in place the policies, procedures and
controls needed for your organisation to achieve the best possible working conditions.
OHSAS 18001 was developed in response to widespread demand for a recognised standard against which to be certified and assessed and as such is being moved to a new standard ISO 45001, the standard will be aligned with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 which are also undergoing revision as we have highlighted in our previous Newsletters.
The project committee, ISO PC 283, is currently working with 50 other countries and international organisations to develop a standard to improve occupational health and safety for everyone on local, national, regional and international levels, in both developed and developing countries. The intention of publication is October 2016.
David Smith, Chairman of project committee ISO PC 283, Occupational Health and safety management systems, answered some questions in a recent interview with ISO, International Organisation for Standardisation, http://www.iso.org/iso/home/about.htm
"Well, obviously, the overall
aim of the standard remains the
same and those familiar with
OHSAS 8001 will recognize many
of the themes in the new ISO
standard. However, there have
been some very interesting
developments related to the new
rules for developing
International Management System
Standards. For example, there
is now a much stronger focus on
the “context” of an organization
as well as a stronger role for
top management and leadership."
"In the new standard, an organization has to look beyond its immediate health and safety issues and take into account what the wider society expects of it. Organisations have to think about their contractors and suppliers as well as, for example, how their work might affect their neighbours in the surrounding area. This is much wider than just focusing on the conditions for internal employees and means organizations cannot just contract out risk."
"Well, ISO 45001 insists that these occupational health and safety aspects now be embodied in the overall management system of the organization, requiring a much stronger buy-in from its management and leadership. This will be a big change for users who may currently delegate responsibility to a safety manager rather than integrate this entirely into the organization’s operations. ISO 45001 requires health and safety aspects to be part of an overall management system and no longer just an added extra."
"There are a number of reasons for looking at this topic using the ISO system. Firstly, many organizations are already using a number of ISO management system standards, so an occupational health and safety tool that can be easily integrated into this makes things a lot easier. In particular, we have focused on easy integration with ISO 14001 as many organizations, especially small businesses, have one person that looks after both safety and environmental concerns. In addition, we hope that the ISO name and recognition will give further credibility to the standard and drive wider adoption.
However, one of the really fantastic things about this ISO project has been the involvement of a really wide variety of organizations and countries. I was involved in the first meeting leading to OHSAS 18001 over 20 years ago, and so it is personally really exciting for me to see today the sheer number of countries actively involved in the standard’s development. Involvement from countries across the globe, from Europe and America, but also Africa, Asia and South America, will help us to create a tool that will work for everyone. We have also had strong involvement from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), who are experts on the topic and have some very valuable insights to bring to the table.
Of course, with this many stakeholders, the development work isn’t always easy and there are disagreements. But to have so many people involved has been wonderful and gives me hope that we are on track to providing a tool that can be used by any organization, within any regulatory framework, in any country."
"If you implement the system and structure we suggest, and do it properly, you can reduce the risk of causing harm to the people working for you. According to ILO statistics published this year, around 2.3 million died as a result of work-related accidents or diseases (ill health) in 2013. These are shocking statistics and a heavy burden for society. Implementing a strong occupational health and safety management system helps organizations reduce accidents and ill health, avoid costly prosecutions, perhaps even reduce insurance costs, as well as create a culture of positivity in the organization when its people see that their needs are being taken into account."