What does OHSAS 18001 actually look like?
The OHSAS 18001 structure is split into four sections. The first three are introductory, with the last section, split into six sub-sections, containing the requirements for the environmental management system. Here is what the six sub-sections are about:
Section 4.1: General Requirements – This section provides an overall statement that the occupational health & safety management system needs to be established, documented, implemented, maintained, and continually improved according to the requirements of the OHSAS 18001 standard. This highlights that the OH&SMS is not a one-time activity to be done and then forgotten, but instead is intended to be maintained to promote improvement.
Section 4.2: OH&S Policy – The occupational health & safety policy helps to set the overall goals to meet the scope of the occupational health & safety management system. The policy includes the company’s commitment to comply with legal requirements, prevent injury and bad health, and continually improve. It also provides the overall framework to set the objectives for the OH&SMS.
Section 4.3: Planning – There are three parts to the planning process for the OHSAS 18001. First, the company needs to identify the hazards and assess the risks for every work place. Next, the company needs to identify the legal and other requirements that pertain to the identified hazards and operational processes and ensure that they are understood and implemented. Lastly, objectives and programs for improvement of the occupational health & safety management system need to be put in place with appropriate resources to accomplish the goals.
Section 4.4: Implementation and Operation – This section has many elements to consider, starting with the assignment of resources, roles, responsibilities, and authorities. Once this is in place you must ensure that competence, training, awareness, and communication (both internal and external to the company) are established for the functioning of the OH&SMS. Documentation and control of documents is required to ensure consistency, as is putting in place operational controls and processes for emergency preparedness and response to ensure that there is uniformity where required.
Section 4.5: Checking – The monitoring and measurement, including evaluation of compliance with legal and other requirements, are necessary to ensure that decisions can be made. Part of this is dealing with nonconformity, corrective action, preventive action, and auditing the processes in place. Without these elements, and the records associated with them, it is almost impossible to tell if things are going according to plan.
Section 4.6: Management Review – Hand in hand with the records from the checking requirement is this requirement for management to review the recorded outputs in order to ensure that actions are progressing according to plan, and to guarantee that adequate resources are applied to meet the requirements.
These sections are based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which uses these elements to implement change within the processes of the organization in order to drive and maintain improvements within the processes.