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ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS)

Learn what is OHSMS, its requirements, benefits, importance, how to implement it and more.

What is OHSMS (Occupational health & safety management system)?

An Occupational Health and Safety Management System is consolidation of OHSMS documents to provide a healthy and safe workplace by preventing workplace injury/health and ensuring compliance with applicable OHS legislation/statutory and regulatory requirements. This prevention is achieved by reduction/elimination of workplace OHS hazards/risks through process approach and risk-based thinking and hierarchy of controls. The hierarchy could include elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment PPE.

Components of an effective OHS management system

Generally, an OHSMS is based on following PDCA cycle:

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Plan: Plan the OHSMS based on OHS processes, applicable OHS legislation/statutory/regulatory requirements, risk-based thinking, OHSMS scope, organizational context and stakeholders needs and expectations. This would include establishing Strategic Plan, OHS Manual, OHSMS objectives/metrics, Processes identification, OHS hazards/risk assessments, OHS policies, safe work procedures, safe work instructions) and supporting tools (templates, forms, checklists, and databases) based on risk assessment.

Do: Cause awareness of and implement established safe work policies, safe work procedures/work instructions and supporting tools (defined above) using competent personnel. Retain appropriate records of OHS process outputs.

Check: Monitor and measure all OHS processes and system outputs and collect raw data or OHS metrics both leading and lagging. Develop trends for analysis of data/metrics and then evaluate the ups/downs of trends to identify process and system deficiencies. In addition, perform internal audits and management reviews to identify any gaps in OHSMS.

Act: Conduct root cause analysis on the identified gaps within OHSMS and develop and implement corrective action. Drive continual improvement based on management review and analysis of data/evaluation outputs. Revise the risk register as necessary. Revise the strategic plan if necessary, and revise the OHS Objectives and metrics as appropriate.

occupational health safety management system

Looking to certify your organization's OHSMS?

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What are the requirements for an occupational health & safety management system (OHSMS)?

Core elements of an ISO 45001 based OHSMS cover:

  • Clause 1-Scope of ISO 45001 Standard
  • Clause 2 -Normative References
  • Clause 3-Terms and definitions 
  • Clause 4-Organizational Context
  • Clause 5-Leadership
  • Clause 6-Planning
  • Clause 7-Support
  • Clause 8-Operation
  • Clause 9-Performance Evaluation
  • Clause 10-Improvement

What is risk-based thinking in OHSMS?

A risk based OHSMS is established by assessing the risks faced by the organization as well as OHS hazards/risks related to its OHS workplace activities or processes. The risk assessment can be done in a few ways depending on the nature, size, and complexity of the organization. The risk assessment must be conducted based on proven risk methodology, criteria and risk assessment personnel competence. The risk assessment output determines the extent and nature of documented information to be developed. This is called risk based OHSMS.

what is ohsms

What is the Importance of OHSMS?

  • OHSMS is important to run a disciplined, structured and systematic business to reap the benefits of elimination of OHS hazards/risks for providing a healthy and safe workplace.
  • It is important to present an OHS-oriented role model by the senior management.
  • It is important to establish a bigger picture `strategic plan` for your business.
  • It is important to establish and make employees aware of OHSMS expectations from them.
  • It is important to establish and implement Key Performance Indicators or metrics for OHS.
  • It is important to identify, understand and mitigate high level risk posed to OHS.
  • It is important to understand and manage the needs and expectations of stakeholders.

Benefits of Occupational health & safety management system

The benefits of OHS management systems include:

  • Healthy and safe workplace
  • Injury cost reduction
  • Reduced WCB benefits
  • Process improvements
  • Stakeholder perception enhancement
  • Due-diligence enhancement or compliance with OHS legislation.
  • Employee loyalty
  • Enhanced team approach

How JSA can help implement an OHS management system in the workplace?

Establishing an OHSMS means putting OHSMS on paper .i.e. documented scope, OHS manual, OHS policy, OHS objectives, safe work operating procedures, safe work instructions and supporting tools and records. The OHSMS is rolled out by training the management and employees on the OHSMS using appropriate content and methodology. Following this, an internal audit is conducted to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of the OHSMS. The gaps are addressed through corrective actions triggered by root cause analysis. Finally, a management review is conducted by leadership using appropriate inputs and delivering action items with defined timelines and responsibilities. At this stage the OHSMS is ready for stage 1 audit-documentation and readiness audit- conducted by External Registrar. Any gaps originating from stage 1 audit are addressed and the OHSMS is ready for stage 2 audit-implementation and effectiveness audit. The External Registrar conducts stage 2 audit and approves certification following any correction actions. 

Certification process for ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management

ISO 45001 based OHSMS can be implemented in several ways depending upon the nature, size and complexity of the organization. Smaller organizations implement ISO 45001 using one team for all phases of the implementation. Whereas large organizations require various types of teams such as steering committee, management team and process teams. Regardless of the size of the organization, teams must have representation from various disciplines.  The implementation begins by establishing a strategic plan that will guide the design of the OHSMS. The key steps to develop required documentation include process identification, risk assessment of processes/workplace activities, determination of extent of documented information required, OHS manual, OHS policy, OHS objectives/metrics, safe work operating procedures, safe work instructions, supporting tools. Once the documented information is in place, management and employee awareness is offered and the OHSMS is rolled out. Following this, an internal audit is conducted to determine the conformance of documentation as well as level and effectiveness of implementation.

What an effective health and safety program looks like?

The Partners Program, also known as the certificate of recognition (COR), is a voluntary employer certification program initiated by WCB BC and intended to motivate employers to take a proactive role in occupational health and safety. The COR program recognizes and rewards employers who go beyond the current legal requirements, implement an effective occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS), and pass a certification audit to the standards set out by the WCB. WCB COR has the following elements:

  • Management leadership and commitment
  • Safe work procedures and written instructions
  • Health and safety training and instruction
  • Identifying hazards and managing risk
  • Inspection of premises, equipment, workplaces & work practices
  • Investigation of incidents
  • Program administration
  • Joint health and safety committee & representatives
  • Occupational health and safety programs
  • System audit

Consult JSA Inc. today to get started!

How do I get ISO 45001 certified?

Jack Sekhon and Associates have brought numerous organizations from various business sectors into ISO 45001 certification. Our strengths include mastering your business knowledge, upfront honesty and integrity, providing clear scope of work with cost breakdown, unparalleled and deep understanding of ISO 45001 Standard, unique style of getting the job done right first time, tactful employee engagement, thoughtful leadership coaching, expert risk assessment and master process approach. Check out how JSA Inc. has helped numerous businesses achieve quality excellence – Read case studies!

ISO 45001 (OHSMS) Resources

  • ISO 45001:2018 Standard – Learn what is ISO 45001, Who needs it, how it is achieved, what is risk based thinking & more.
  • Core Elements of Ohsms – Learn about the 10 clauses of Occupational Health & Safety Management System.
Case Studies

Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited

Jack Sekhon and Associates assisted Coca Cola in evaluating compliance with Worksafe Act and Regulations and CSA Environmental Compliance Auditing Standard.

Ridley Terminals

Jack Sekhon and Associates assisted Ridley Terminals in achieving transformation and evaluation to Integrated Management System (IMS) consisting of QMS, EMS and OHSMS and compliance evaluation for environmental and OHS legal obligations.

Suncor Energy

Jack Sekhon and Associates assisted Suncor Energy in determining the top 10 high risk OHS processes within their operations.
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