Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSAS 18001) – An Overview

Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSAS 18001) – An Overview
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A health and safety management system is a definite plan of action designed to prevent accidents and occupational diseases. A health and safety program must include the elements required by the health and safety legislation as a minimum.

Because organizations differ, a program developed for one organization cannot necessarily be expected to meet the needs of another. This document summarizes the general elements of a health and safety program. This should help smaller organizations to develop programs to deal with their specific needs. Because many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lack the resources of larger organizations, it is even more vital that SMEs involve all employees in health and safety activities. The more comprehensive the program is, the more employee involvement can be expected.

OH&S policy:

An organization’s occupational health and safety policy is a statement of principles and general rules that serve as guides for action. Senior management must be committed to ensuring that the policy is carried out with no exceptions. The health and safety policy should have the same importance as the other policies of the organization.

The policy statement can be brief, but it should mention:
• Management’s commitment to protect the safety and health of employees
• Objectives of the program.
• Organization’s basic health and safety philosophy.
• Accountability for occupational health and safety programmes.
• General responsibilities of all employees.
• Health and safety shall not be sacrificed for expediency.
• Unacceptable performance of health and safety duties will not be tolerated.

The policy should be:
• Stated in clear, unambiguous, and unequivocal terms
• Signed by the incumbent Chief Executive Officer
• Kept up-to-date
• Communicated to each employee
• Adhered to in all work activities

OH&S Management Program Elements:

While organizations will have different needs and scope for specific elements required in their health and safety program, the following basic items should be considered in each case:

• Individual responsibility
• Joint occupational health and safety committee
• Health and safety rules
• Correct work procedures
• Employee orientation
• Training
• Workplace inspections
• Accident investigation and reporting
• Emergency procedures and response
• Medical and first aid
• Health and safety promotion
• Workplace specific items

Senior management must demonstrate commitment and support the program by:

• Providing resources such as time, money, and personnel
• Ensuring that employees receive training or certification as required
• Making all applicable health and safety information available to all employees entitled to receive it
• Including health and safety performance as part of employee performance appraisals at all levels
• Attending health and safety meetings

The program must be communicated to all employees. Special emphasis should be given to new workers, newly appointed supervisors, and new members of the joint health and safety committee. Revisions to policies and procedures should be publicized. The program should be available in a single written document. However, if separate manuals have been developed for various elements, such as accident investigation procedures, their use should be referred to in the main document.

A good health and safety program provides a clear set of guidelines for activities that, if followed rigorously, will reduce accidents and cases of occupational disease. The key to success is the manner in which the program is implemented and maintained.

Contact us at info@lakshy.com or visit www.lakshy.com or call our 24 hours customer care +91 9821780035 to get your organization OHSAS 18001:2007 certified.

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