List of mandatory documents required by OHSAS 18001
Note: In 2018 OHSAS 18001 was replaced with the new standard for Occupational Health & Safety Management System called ISO 45001. To learn which documents are required by this latest OH&S ISO standard, read the article List of mandatory documents required by ISO 45001.
Many companies go overboard with documentation in the belief that they need to document every single process that is in place in their organization, without realizing that this is not necessary to meet the requirements of the OHSAS 18001 standard. In the standard, there are several mandatory processes, but these are not required to be documented procedures. Also identified are many records that need to be maintained, which are generated by the processes of the Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OH&SMS).
Which documents are a must in OHSAS 18001?
Here are the documents you need to produce if you want to be compliant with OHSAS 18001:
- Scope of the OH&SMS (clauses 4.1, 4.4.4)
- OH&S Policy (clause 4.2, 4.4.4)
- Record of Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment (including significance) and determining controls (clause 4.3.1)
- OH&S Objectives and Program(s) (clause 4.3.3, 4.4.4)
- Roles, Responsibilities & Authorities (clause 4.4.1)
- Competence, Awareness & Training Records (clause 4.4.2)
- Communication from External Parties (clause 18.104.22.168)
- OH&SMS Elements & their Interaction (clause 4.4.4)
- Operational Control Procedures (clause 4.4.6)
- Monitoring Performance Information (clause 4.5.1)
- Calibration Records (clause 4.5.1)
- Evaluation of Compliance Records (clauses 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199)
- Nonconformity, Corrective & Preventive Action Records (clause 4.5.3)
- Internal Audit Records (clause 4.5.5)
- Management Review Records (clause 4.6)
These are the documents and records that are required to be maintained for the OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health & Safety Management System, but you should also maintain any other records that you have identified as necessary to ensure your management system can function, be maintained, and improve over time.
Commonly used non-mandatory documents
No system exists using only the mandatory documents. There are numerous non-mandatory documents that can be used for OHSAS 18001 implementation. However, I find these non-mandatory documents to be most commonly used:
- Procedure for Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment and Determining Controls (clause 4.3.1)
- Procedure for Legal and Other Requirements (clause 4.3.2)
- Procedure for OH&SMS Competence, Training and Awareness (clause 4.4.2)
- Procedure for Communication, Participation and Consultation of the OH&SMS (clause 4.4.3)
- Procedure for Control of Documents and Records (clauses 4.4.5 and 4.5.4)
- Procedure for Emergency Preparedness and Response (clause 4.4.7)
- Procedure for Monitoring & Measurement (clause 4.5.1)
- Procedure for Evaluation of Compliance (clause 4.5.2)
- Procedure for Nonconformity, Corrective Action & Preventive Action (clause 4.5.3)
- Procedure for Internal Audit (clause 4.5.5)
While OHSAS 18001 does not require that you document all of the procedures, one rule of thumb when deciding if you want to document a process is this: if your organization needs a written document to ensure consistency between employees, then you should do so. In many cases this is the best way to ensure that your Occupational Health and Safety Management System is reliably implemented.
Documentation is important, but keep it simple
Documentation in the Occupational Health & Safety Management System is important to ensure that critical processes, where you need to make sure that all employees consistently do the same thing, are understood and repeatable. In order to make this work, it is wise to have these processes as uncomplicated as possible and presented in the simplest manner to make them easy to understand; often, using a graphical flow chart can suffice to relay all the relevant information quickly and easily. The less complicated the documentation, the easier it will be to ensure that all employees can deliver repeatable outcomes. In the long run, the old adage is often right: “The simpler the better.”
If you want to find out more about mandatory and most commonly used documents in OHSAS 18001 implementation, download this free whitepaper: Checklist of Mandatory Documentation Required by OHSAS 18001:2007.