Tuesday, December 19, 2006

OHSAS 18001 to become BS

BSi recently held a 'webinar' regarding the planned issued of British Standard BS18001. This is intended to superseded the current occupational health 'specification' OHSAS 18001. It seems an international standard is not yet forthcoming because global requirements are not stringent enough for UK legislation.

The BS will be more closely related to ISO 9001 and 14001 and use of terminology will change a bit. Hazard identification and risk assessment will be required to take into account:
* Human factors such as behaviour and capabilities
* Infrastructure, equipment and materials
* Changes or proposed changes in the organisation or its activity
* Modifications to the OH&S MS…and their impacts on operations, processes and activities
* Any legal obligations relating to risk assessment and implementation of necessary control measures

Risk controls will need to be selected to the fairly well accepted hierarchy of control (elimination, substitution, engineering controls, signs/warnings/procedural, PPE).

A commitment must be made to prevent OH&S incidents. The active role of top management will be emphasised, including how they will demonstrate commitment. Also, all employees will have to take responsibility for aspects of OH&S over which they have control.

There will be a requirement to identify training needs, for those need to be met, to evaluate the effectiveness of training and to keep records of training, education and experience.

Organisations will have to periodically evaluate compliance with applicable legal and other requirements and to keep records of the results. Accidents will need to be investigated and analysed with results being documented.

Benefits of achieving OHSAS 18001 are quoted as

* 52% - large/significant improvement in regulatory compliance
* 32% - decrease in overall costs of accidents
* 17% - decrease in insurance premiums
* 4% - decrease of over 10% in insurance premiums

I guess the implication is that BS18001 will have even more benefits.

From this a couple of things strike me because they are things I have felt to have been very important for sometime:

* Taking human factors into account in hazard identification and risk assessment;
* Training needs analysis and evaluation after training
* Identifying accident investigation and analysis as two processes

Andy Brazier

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