Jack Sehkon and Associates Inc.

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 OHSMS consolidates documents to ensure a healthy and safe workplace, preventing injuries and illnesses while complying with applicable OHS legislation, statutory, and regulatory requirements. 

This prevention is achieved by reduction or eliminating workplace OHS hazards and risks through a process approach, risk-based thinking, and the hierarchy of controls. The hierarchy includes elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment PPE.

ohsms hierarchy of controls

Components of an effective OHS management system

Generally, an OHSMS is based on following PDCA cycle:

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Plan: Develop the OHSMS by considering OHS processes, relevant legislation, risk-based thinking, and the organization’s context and stakeholders expectations. This includes creating a strategic plan, OHS Manual, OHSMS objectives, identifying processes, conducting risk assessments, and establishing OHS policies, safe work procedures, and supporting tools like templates, forms, checklists, and databases.

Do: Raise awareness and implement established safe work policies, procedures and supporting tools using competent personnel. Maintain appropriate records of OHS process outputs.

Check: Monitor and measure all OHS processes and system outputs, collecting both leading and lagging OHS metrics. Analyze data trends to identify process and system deficiencies. Additionally, conduct internal audits and management reviews to identify any gaps in OHSMS.

Act: Perform root cause analysis on identified gaps within the OHSMS and implement corrective actions. Drive continual improvement based on management review and data analysis. Update the risk register, strategic plan, and OHS Objectives and metrics as needed.

ohsms components

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Requirements of an OHSMS

Core elements of an ISO 45001 based OHSMS cover:

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 tailored to the nature, size, and complexity of the organization. The risk assessment must be conducted using proven risk methodology, clear criteria, and personnel competence. 

The output of this assessment determines the extent and nature of documented information to be developed. This approach forms the foundation of a risk based Occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS).

what is ohsms

What is the Importance of OHSMS?

An OHSMS is crucial for running a disciplined, structured, and systematic business to eliminate OHS hazards/risks and provide a healthy and safe workplace. Here are the key points:

  • Leadership: Senior management must present an OHS-oriented role model.
  • Strategic planning: Establish a comprehensive strategic plan for your business.
  • Employee Awareness: Make employees aware of OHSMS expectations.
  • Performance Metrics: Implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or metrics for OHS.
  • Risk Management: Identify, understand, and mitigate high-level OHS risk.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Understand and manage the needs and expectations of stakeholders.

Benefits of an OHSMS

The benefits of OHSMS 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

Establishing an OHSMS in the workplace

Establishing an OHSMS involves documenting its scope, OHS manual, OHS policy, OHS objectives, safe work operating procedures, safe work instructions, and supporting tools and records. Here’s a step-by-step overview:

  • Documentation: Put the OHSMS on paper, including the scope, manual, policies, objectives, procedures, instructions, and supporting tools and records.
  • Training: Train management and employees using appropriate content and methodology.
  • Internal Audit: Conduct an internal audit to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of the OHSMS.
  • Corrective Actions: Address gaps through corrective actions triggered by root cause analysis.
  • Management Review: Leadership conducts a management review using appropriate inputs, delivering action items with defined timelines and responsibilities.
  • Stage 1 Audit: Prepare for the stage 1 audit (documentation and readiness audit) conducted by an External Registrar. Address any gaps identified in this stage.
  • Stage 2 Audit: Once ready, proceed to the stage 2 audit (implementation and effectiveness audit) conducted by the External Registrar.
  • Certification: Following any necessary corrective actions from the stage 2 audit, the External Registrar approves the certification.

This structured approach ensures the OHSMS is effectively implemented and ready for certification.

Implementation process

 Implementing an ISO 45001 based OHSMS can vary based on the organization’s nature, size, and complexity. Smaller organizations might use a single team for all phases, while larger organizations require various teams such as a steering committee, management team, and process teams. 

Implementation Steps:

1. Establish a Strategic Plan: Begin with a strategic plan to guide the design of the OHSMS.

2. Develop Documentation:

  • Process Identification: Identify all relevant processes.
  • Risk Assessment: Assess risks associated with processes and workplace activities.
  • Determine Documentation Needs: Establish the extent of required documentation.
  • Create Key Documents: Develop the OHS manual, OHS policy, OHS objectives/metrics, safe work operating procedures, safe work instructions, and supporting tools.

3. Rollout:

  • Training and Awareness: Train management and employees on the OHSMS.
  • Implementation: Roll out the OHSMS across the organization.

4. Internal Audit:

  • Conduct an internal audit to assess the conformance of documentation and the effectiveness of the implementation.

This approach ensures a systematic and structured implementation of the OHSMS, tailored to the organization’s specific needs.

Consult JSA Inc. today to get started!

Why choose JSA?

Jack Sekhon and Associates have successfully guided numerous organizations from various business sectors to achieve ISO 45001 certification. Our strengths include:

  • Business Knowledge: Mastering the intricacies of your business.
  • Honesty and Integrity: Providing upfront honesty and integrity in all our dealings.
  • Clear Scope and Cost: Offering a clear scope of work with a detailed cost breakdown.
  • ISO 45001 Expertise: Demonstrating unparalleled and deep understanding of the ISO 45001 Standard.
  • Effective Execution: Employing a unique style to get the job done right the first time.
  • Employee Engagement: Engaging employees tactfully throughout the process.
  • Leadership Coaching: Providing thoughtful leadership coaching.
  • Risk Assessment: Conducting expert risk assessments.
  • Process Approach: Mastering the process approach for continuous improvement.

OHS Resources

OHSMS Training Courses

OHSMS Related Articles

  • 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.

Successful OHSMS 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.
Read Case Study

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.
Read Case Study

Suncor Energy

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