Did you know that every day, over 7,600 lose their lives to unsafe workplace environments that cause accidents or diseases? ISO.org reports that over 2.78 million workers are affected by occupational injuries and diseases annually, which result to death. Today more than ever, it is the responsibility of an organisation to ensure that their workplace is safe for all workers, employees, partners, contractors, visitors, and whoever else is involved in the various operations of the business. This is where OHS management systems come in.
An OHS management system or occupational health and safety management system is a collection of processes, policies, standards, and documentation pertaining to the proper management of health and safety risks in the workplace. These systems enable organisations to continuously enhance their health and safety performance.
ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety is a standard that organisations with existing OHS management systems may get certification to. It was proposed in October of 2013 and was published in March of 2018. Organisations whose OHS management systems are certified to ISO 45001 join an elite list of global companies who are committed to ensuring workplace safety and continuously strive to improve it as part of their business objectives.
ISO 45001: The Different Components of OHS Management Systems
Several components make up an OHS management system. Such are outlined by Worksafe ABC.
1. OHS management systems rely on the continuous leadership and commitment of management and executives.
Involving all levels of management in implementing OHS management systems is vital in ensuring that it succeeds. Their input is also vital in establishing policies, setting goals, and allotting resources to ensure that such systems are fully supported at all times. Involving stakeholders will also allow them to provide unique insights on how to continuously improve a business’ OHS management system. These inputs are often collected through a gap analysis conducted by OHS consultants from third party ISO consulting firms that work with organisations to seamlessly develop systems that manage their business’ unique risks.
2. Well-defined set of safe work procedures and documented instructions that ensure process and workplace safety.
One of the advantages of having OHS management systems is the presence of a central repository in which organisations can develop and store the safe work procedures and instructions, which every member of the organisation has access to. These safe work procedures will help each employee understand the risks involved in his or her job and commit to adhering to such instructions to ensure his and his co-workers safety. Health and safety training and instructions must also be present in the OHS management system so that members understand their roles and responsibilities in keeping their employees safe as well.
3. Identification of hazards and proper management of occupational risks.
Every business faces a unique set of risks given their operations. Worksafe ABC outlines three steps in managing such risks in the workplace. First, safety officers, with the help of OHS consultants who may audit the business, must identify hazards in the workplace. These may be as simple as the materials the business works with, the venue in which the business operates, or the facilities being used throughout such processes. Once identified, these risks must be assessed and ranked as high, medium, or low. This will also help OHS consultants and safety officers determine which risks to prioritise and address first. Lastly, these risks must be controlled by changing the way the process is done or improving the facilities, tools, and materials used in carrying out a job.
4. System audit and maintenance.
The success of OHS management systems is reliant on how well they are maintained and how deeply each employee commits to ensuring safety in the workplace. Such audits are often performed by third party OHS consultants that provide an unbiased look into how a business’ OHS management activities perform and if they are meeting business objectives.
5. Regular assessments, evaluations, and certifications.
Safety management systems are often audited by third party OHS consultants if a business wants to get certified to ISO 45001. Ongoing assessments and evaluations demonstrate an organisation’s commitment not only to excellence, but also to ensuring that the workplace remains safe for their employees.
Businesses that are looking to audit their OHS management systems and get certified to ISO 45001 are encouraged to work with a third-party ISO consulting firm, which OHS consultants are well versed in identifying risks and addressing them. Such OHS consultants help support organisations in preparing documentation for certification, integrating all ISO standards, and ensuring that organisational change is kept to a minimum. It also helps save time and resources so businesses can focus on their core competencies while maintaining a firm commitment to workplace health and safety.