Develop an OHSMS
An occupational health and safety management system is defined as a plan of action designed to prevent injuries and illness in your workplace. Your company must develop, implement and maintain an occupational health and safety management system within the AASP and Partnership guidelines to qualify for a COR/SECOR and to maintain your COR/SECOR status.
Though every workplace and every occupational health and safety (OHS) management system is different, there are key elements common to all. The AASP development courses (see Get Trained) provide guidance, examples and templates to develop and implement the ten elements of an occupational health and safety management system required under the Certificate of Recognition (COR/SECOR) program, which are:
Management Leadership and Organizational Commitment
For any Health and Safety Management System to be effective, management must show leadership and commitment to the program. The first step in accomplishing this is to put the organization’s expectations around health and safety into writing by developing a Health and Safety Policy and to show Management’s commitment to the program.
Hazard Identification and Assessment
Hazard assessments are a key component of a health and safety system and is critical part of the foundation for a successful health and safety management. It is important to proactively assess all jobs andsubsequent tasks to identify the hazards, existing and potential, that exist at the work site. Key personnel should be trained in the process of how to identify, evaluate and control the existing and potential hazards at the work site for both formal and site specific hazard assessments. Involvement at all levels within the organization is important, and will ensure both management and workers are aware of the hazards that may or may not have otherwise been noticed until an incident occurred. Hazard assessments are also part of the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation, OHS Code Part 2.
Once the hazard assessments are completed, the next step in the development of a Health and Safety Management System is the implementation of control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm to workers. This part of an OHS system is also covered under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, which requires employers to take all reasonable steps to eliminate or control identified hazards to make the workplace safer.
Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee (HSC) and Health and Safety Representatives (HS Representatives)
Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committees are a key element of the internal responsibility system. It brings work site parties together to work on topics such as hazard identification and control, investigation of health and safety incidents, and responding to reports of dangerous work. If the employer has 1 – 4 employees as determined through the audit scope, this element will not apply.
Qualifications, Orientation and Training
Worker training is a key element of any Health and Safety Management System. Employers must communicate with workers so they understand that health and safety is considered an important part of the work process, and they are aware of how to do their jobs safely. Well trained and competent workers not only perform their jobs safely, but are more productive. Training will pay off immediately. The AASP has developed the Qualified Safety Representative Designation (QSR) that will allow you and your ‘key’ employees to further improve health and safety skills and understanding.
Other Parties at or in the Vicinity of the Work Site
Other employers, and/or self-employed persons, visitors and external worksite parties must be included in the employer’s occupational health and safety management system.
An ongoing system for conducting work site inspections is another important element of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System. Regular inspections will:
- Proactively identify potential hazards that may not have been previously noted,
- Confirm the effectiveness of controls already in place, and
- Demonstrate commitment to health and safety.
Emergnecy Response Planning
A serious emergency (such as an explosion, fire, or flood) could seriously affect the operation of a business and put the health, safety, and livelihood of many employees in jeopardy. The best Health and Safety Management System cannot protect your company from all natural or unexpected disasters; however, having a good Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place can reduce the severity and risk of loss. The action taken in the first few minutes of an emergency is critical. Knowing what to do and who to contact can save lives and reduce costs if disaster should strike.
If an unplanned, unwanted event does occur on the work site, it must be investigated so that steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood that the same incident will happen again. The importance of reporting all incidents, including near misses, should be reflected in a formal policy and procedure to which workers must be trained.
System Administration ensures that all aspects of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System are recorded, tracked, and maintained. A record tracking system should be set up to allow for statistical analysis, and the identification of trends that may identify system areas in need of improvement. Examples of records that need to be maintained include:
- employee training records
- work site inspection records
- incident investigation reports
- preventative maintenance records
- health and safety meeting minutes
Health and safety program records should be kept for a minimum of three years.