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How to perform management review in OHSAS 18001

As with many management systems, the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard recognizes the importance of having top management involved in the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System. Due to this important role, the standard includes requirements for top management to review the OH&S Management System to determine if there are changes necessary to improve or correct the system. Here are a few things to think about on this very important topic.

Management review: Is it necessarily a meeting?

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It is important to note that the requirements of OHSAS 18001, like other management review standards, do not include a requirement for a management review meeting. It is important to have top management involved in reviewing the information gathered about occupational health & safety, but this does not mean that they need to sit in a meeting to do so. Review of the data, and reacting to the data toward improvement of the OH&S Management System, can happen in any format that the company sees as the most beneficial.

What does the OHSAS 18001 standard require for management review?

The main review that is required of top management in the OHSAS standard is for top management to assess any opportunities for improvement and any needed changes in the OH&S Management System, including updates to the OH&S policy and OH&S objectives. The standard also asks that top management review certain inputs from the OH&S Management System listed below:

  • Results of internal audits – What was found during your internal audits? Along with corrective actions that were identified, were there any opportunities for improvement to investigate or even best practices that should be communicated throughout the company?
  • Evaluations of compliance with legal requirements – In your review of how well you meet legal requirements, did you find anything that could be improved, was a near miss, or was done better in one part of the company that other areas of the company could learn from?
  • Results of participation and consultation – In talking with employees and other interested parties, was there something identified that could improve your OH&S system?
  • Communication from external parties – While this includes complaints, it is not exclusively complaints. If someone outside of the company has taken the time to identify something to you regarding health & safety, such as a potentially hazardous situation that they noticed, take the opportunity to address this before something happens.
  • OH&S performance – How many accidents or near misses happen in your company? Is there something that needs to be done to ensure that accidents don’t happen to your employees or contractors?
  • Extent of meeting objectives – Since you took the time and effort to set objectives for your OH&S Management System, how are you progressing toward meeting those objectives? By tracking your progress, you can tell if you are going to meet the target in time or if you need to change your approach or increase your resources.
  • Status of incident investigations, corrective actions, and preventive actions – If you have implemented your corrective or preventive action process, or are investigating an incident to correct it, what is the status of the investigation and implemented plan? These should be done in a timely fashion in order to gain the most benefit from the improvement.
  • Follow-up on previous management review actions – Why take actions if you are not going to make sure they are completed effectively and in a timely fashion?
  • Changing circumstances related to the OH&S – This includes knowing any developments in legal requirements for the organization. By keeping up to date with legal and other changes, you can make sure you implement any necessary updates in a time that is most advantageous to you.
  • Recommendations for improvement – If someone has recommended a way that they think you can improve your OH&S performance, you owe it to yourself to see if it is feasible. It could even save you time and money.

From these inputs, there are a few outputs, including decisions and actions from the review that need to be made. These need to be consistent with the commitment to continually improve, and are to be made available for communication and consultation with internal and external parties where applicable. These outputs include possible changes to:

  • OH&S performance – Are there things that need to happen to improve your performance to an acceptable level?
  • OH&S policy and objectives – Have changes happened that require you to update your policy or objectives?
  • Resources – In order to meet your targets and legal requirements, do you need to adjust the resources applied?
  • Other elements of the OH&S Management System – What else should be recorded as a record of what was done?

Make management review work for you!

Remember, as always, that the reason you have an OH&S Management System is to control your OH&S system and to work toward improvement.  The review of top management is very important for this, but there is not a mandate as to how this review needs to happen. If a meeting of top management is the best way to make this occur appropriately, then you should do so, but do not be forced into this if you have better ways to make continual improvement happen. The OH&S Management System is there for you, so do what makes the most sense for your company.

Use this free  OHSAS 18001 Gap Analysis Tool to check your compliance with OHSAS 18001.

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