Updated OHSAS 18001:2007 standard. (Occupational Health & Safety)
Today, Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) is a major concern of companies not only in critical sectors like Oil & Gas, Mining and Construction, but also in sectors seen as "safe" like Food or Services in general. Major accidents with wide press coverage are just the tip of the iceberg: every hour 250 people die from occupational accidents and disease . It is like a Boeing 747-400 crashing every hour.
On the other hand, investment in OHS is not just a Social Responsibility trend, but it has also been proven to be a wise investment, not just to keep employees healthy, but also fully productive, motivated and retained in the company. It also reduces accidents, absenteeism and other issues with direct and incalculable indirect costs.
As a response to these needs, Bureau Veritas and other major international organizations published in 1999 the first internationally accepted specification on Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) document: OHSAS 18001:1999.
After its publication OHSAS 18001 grew worldwide precisely because it proved to be a good way to put in practice the OHS commitments of organizations.
Today, OHSAS 18001 is adopted by 15,000 companies or sites in 100 countries.
Despite its success OHSAS 18001 needed to be updated. In 2006 the OHSAS Project Group, including Bureau Veritas, started the revision. It took 12 months and included a public request for comments which received more than 1000 comments from almost 50 organizations from more than 20 countries.
On 1st July 2007, a new version will be published.
This new version is better aligned with ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004, keeping the same clauses order and most of the changes of ISO 14001:2004. This will encourage Management Systems integration and possibly increase the interest in OHSAS. OHSAS 18001:2007 is also more results oriented.
To summarize the main changes:
- The importance of "health" has now been given greater emphasis balanced with "safety".
- Focus on occupational safety, not getting distracted with assets, security, etc.
- The term "incident" is now being used as a reference instead of the term "accident"
- The inclusion of behaviour, capabilities and other human factors as elements to be considered in the identification of hazards, risk assessment and determination of controls and finally in competence, training and awareness
- A new requirement has been introduced for the delegation of control as part of OHS planning
- Change Management is now more explicitly addressed
- A new clause on the "Evaluation of compliance" has been introduced, aligned with ISO 14001
- New requirements have been introduced for participation and consultation
- New requirements have been introduced for the investigation of incidents
- OHSAS 18001 now refers to itself as a standard, not a specification, or document, as in its earlier edition. This reflects the increasing adoption of OHSAS 18001 as the basis for national standards on occupational health and safety management systems.
- New definitions have been added, including major ones like "incidents", "risk", "risk assessment", and existing definitions revised
- The term "tolerable risk" has been replaced by the term "acceptable risk"
- The definition of the term "hazard" no longer refers to "damage to property or damage to the workplace environment". It is now considered that such "damage" is not directly related to occupational health and safety management, which is the purpose of this OHSAS Standard, and that it is included in the field of asset management. Instead, the risk of such "damage" having an effect on occupational health and safety should be identified through the organization's risk assessment process, and be controlled through the application of appropriate risk controls.
In summary, OHSAS 18001:2007 is more compatible with ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 9001:2000, embraces modern and proven concepts of OHS management and has had its elements and definitions better refined.
Organizations already certified to OHSAS 18001 will have a two year transition period. We advise them to start implementing the improvements and alignments soon in order to benefit from the new changes .
To conclude OHSAS 18001:2007 is not the medicine to cure all OHS problems in an organization, but it is probably unique in its global acceptance and practical way of delivering a better work environment and continued improvement through a complete management system.
Bureau Veritas Certification is now ready to provide OHSAS 18001: 2007 certification.
Bureau Veritas Certification also offers the possibility of integrated certification Services ( Quality, Health and safety, Environment and Social Responsibility) generating audit efficiency, consistency and optimization.
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