How to gain the OHSAS 18001 standard

Gaining OHSAS 18001 This blog post looks into ‘What is OHSAS 18001?’ and how your organisation is assessed when gaining this British Standard.

What is OHSAS 18001?

OHSAS 18001 is a British Standard for occupational health and safety management systems. It was created to help organisations demonstrate good occupational health and safety performance and as a result is now seen as one of the world’s most recognisable occupational health and safety management systems standards.

So why should your organisation try to meet this standard? This British Standard has a number of benefits such as, it:

  • Helps your organisation create the best possible working conditions for your employees
  • Identifies hazards and puts into place controls for your organisation to manage them
  • Reduces costs and downtime by reducing workplace accidents and illnesses
  • Helps your workforce become more motivated and engage better with one another as your organisation will have safer working conditions
  • Demonstrates to your stakeholders that your organisation is compliant

How to gain this standard?

 In order for your organisation to gain OHSAS 18001 there are 5 main areas that must be examined by an approved centre. These 5 main areas are:

  1. Occupational health and safety policies
  2. How your organisation conducts planning
  3. Implementation and operational control of resources, roles etc
  4. How your organisation checks/monitors and evaluates
  5. Examination of your organisation’s management review

The table below explains each area that is assessed in greater detail.

 Occupational health and safety policies: 
  • What policies are in place?
  • Are the policies correct and up-to-date?
  • How are the policies communicated?
  • Are the policies reviewed regularly?
 How your organisation plans in terms of:
  • Hazard identifications
  • Risk assessments
  • Legal and other requirements
  • Objectives and programmes
Implementation and operation of:
  • Resources, roles, responsibility, accountability & authority
  • Competence, training and awareness
  • Communication, participation and consultation
  • Control of documents
  • Operational control
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Performance measurement and monitoring
  • Evaluation of compliance
  • Incident investigation, non-conformity, corrective & preventive action
  • Control of records
  • Internal audit
Management review:
  • Results from internal audits and evaluations
  • Occupational Health and Safety performance of your organisation
  • Have the objectives been met?
  • Follow-up actions from previous reviews
  • Recommendations for improvements

How to get assessed?

A number of organisations can assess your health and safety management system against OHSAS 18001 requirements and if they are satisfied that your systems meet the standard, they can issue a Certificate of Compliance. In addition, to this organisations such as RoSPA can offer a unique added value service, which means that if your organisation does not comply then they can work with you to achieve compliance by advising you exactly on where you are going wrong and helping you put it right.

This standard as well as the new ISO 39001 standard can be combined as part of a safety audit, which integrates this approach and saves your organisation both time and money.

I hope this post has given you more insight into OHSAS 18001,  please feel free to discuss this information or post more specific information below.

Further reading

Calling all fleets – Get the lowdown on ISO 39001

Who’s handling your safety audits? Internal vs. external

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