OHSAS 18001 provides an overarching framework for managing occupational health and safety in an organization.
It is about the policies, procedures and records that govern the foundations of workplace health and safety measures. It is a customizable system that can be moulded to a company’s structure and legal requirements.
Preventing injuries and maintaining various health-related parameters are some of the major challenges for companies. Being OHSAS 18001-compliant, shows that a company puts the safety and health of its employees first.
Apart from boosting a company’s image, OHSAS compliance can reduce costs by preventing accidents and injuries and also allow the company to buy insurance at affordable prices.
OHSAS 18001 is composed of the following parts:
General Requirements: This is a declaration that after OHSAS 18001 is implemented, it should be maintained and improved upon.
Policy: This allows a company to outline the goals based on which the objectives of OHSAS 18001 will be met.
Planning: A company must figure out the risks associated with different tasks, then identify the legal requirements related to these risks and then implement them. Next, all the steps needed to fulfill the OHSAS objectives must be taken, with the appropriate allocation of resources.
Implementation and operation: After resources and roles are assigned, relevant training must be provided and communication disseminated. Next, processes must be documented for maintaining consistency, monitoring and controlling processes and finally, to be ready for all expediencies.
Checking: There must be checks and balances in place to check compliance, correct errors and audit processes. This provides an overview of what’s working and what needs to be rectified.
Review: Management must assess the records of various processes to check that the system has been implemented as per intent and see if resources allocated are enough to meet the objectives.
To receive the OHSAS 18001 certificate, a company must first implement the requirements of the standard. Then, an authorized certification body must audit and certify that the implementation is as per the requirements of OHSAS 18001.
After the legal requirements of OH&SMS are identified, the company must define its OH&S policy, workplace health and safety hazards and the objectives and goals of OH&S. This will provide the scope and define the implementation of OH & SMS.
Additionally, the compulsory and optional processes and procedures specific to the company’s operations must be created. This can be done in-house or a consultant can be appointed for the purpose.
Next, the OH & SMS must be initialized and run for some time, which will allow the company to create the records for audit and review of the system before certification.
Once the system is implemented, the following mandatory steps must be taken to be certified:
The audit checks that records have been maintained and are proper, there’s compliance with the requirements and traces any problems that might have been overlooked.
The management reviews the system to allocate resources and take necessary decisions.
If any problems have been identified, their chief cause must be found out and the resolution process documented.
The OHSAS 18001 certification 2 stages:
1 Documentation review – Auditors will review documents to check that they meet the OHSAS 18001 standards.
2 Main audit – Auditors will verify if the company’s actions comply with OHSAS 18001 and the company’s in-house documents by checking records and company’s established practices.