OHSAS 18001 - Expert Advice

SQMC’s expert Jennie Clark gives health and safety pointers for the workplace and how OHSAS 18001 can be used by businesses of all sizes and sectors.

Health and safety pointers for the workplace from SQMC’s resident expert Jennie Clark

• OHSAS 18001 is the business standard for Occupational Health and Safety management against which businesses can receive certification.

• OHSAS18001 drives in a structured approach to management of Occupational Health and safety management, which can be used by businesses of all sizes and all sectors

• OHSAS 18001 requires organisations to measure performance, evaluate compliance, and have comprehensive processes in place for effective safety management, including incident investigation and management and the delivery of corrective and preventive action. Organisations must also review compliance with the whole system through a structured management review and audit process.

• OHSAS 18001 is increasingly relevant for client-based companies to drive out risk and is also increasingly being seen as a requirement within the tendering processes of various industries. Organisations want to know that they are working with businesses that take health and safety seriously and can demonstrate compliance with health and safety standards.

• SMEs are generally not as aware of this health and safety standard as larger companies.

• Measures companies can take to minimise dangers include:
o Create a culture where safety is everyone’s responsibility, from the top down
o Create a structured approach to safety management

o Eliminate a blame culture
o Change the culture so that people are not penalised for filing reports. Companies should feel obliged to tackle potential problems or dangers or make the necessary changes to create a safer environment

o Encourage everyone to be aware of the safety of their colleagues and themselves
o Change the focus away from tolerating accidents to making them unacceptable

• The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle which underpins the standard can be used very effectively in safety management and coupled with other tools such as Root Cause Analysis can help businesses identify and drive out poor health and safety practices.

• Consequences for companies that fail to take steps to minimise health and safety dangers can include fines of up to several million pounds and/or prison sentences of several months or years for health and safety failures, particularly if they have resulted in a death. OHSAS18001 can help prevent the problems that lead to these fines and sentences.

Upcoming courses featuring OHSAS 18001 delivered by SQMC include:

Internal IMS Auditor – ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (3 Days) – 4th December, Falkirk
Internal IMS Auditor – ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (3 Days) – 9th December, York
Internal HSE Auditor – OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 (2 Days) – 11th December, Dunfermline