At the time of developing this International Standard, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 2.3 million people die every year from work-related accidents and diseases. An organization is responsible for the health and safety of its workers and that of other persons under its control who are performing work on its behalf, including promoting and protecting their physical and mental health. The adoption of an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system is intended to enable an organization to improve its OH&S performance in the enhancement of health and safety at work and to manage its OH&S risks.
0.2 Aim of an OH&S management system
The purpose of an OH&S management system is to provide a framework for managing the prevention of death, work-related injury and ill health. The intended outcome is to prevent death, work-related injury and ill health to workers, to improve and provide a safe and healthy workplace for its workers and other persons under its control. An organization’s activities can pose a risk of death, work-related injury and ill health, consequently it is critically important for the organization to eliminate or minimize OH&S risks by taking effective preventive measures. When these measures are applied by the organization through its OH&S management system (supported by the use of appropriate controls, methods and tools, at all levels in the organization) they improve its OH&S performance. It can be more effective and efficient to take early action to address potential opportunities for improvement of OH&S performance.
An OH&S management system can enable an organization to improve its OH&S performance by:
- developing and implementing an OH&S policy and OH&S objectives;
- ensuring top management demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the OH&S management system;
- establishing systematic processes which consider its context (see A.4.1) and which take into account its risks and its opportunities;
- determining the hazards and OH&S risks associated with its activities; seeking to eliminate them, or putting in controls to minimize their potential effects;
- establishing operational controls to eliminate or minimize its OH&S risks;
- increasing awareness of its OH&S hazards and risks, and associated operational controls, through information, communication and training;
- evaluating its OH&S performance and seeking to improve it;
- establishing and developing the necessary competencies;
- developing and supporting an occupational health and safety culture in the organization;
- ensuring that workers, and where they exist, workers’ representatives, are informed, consulted and participate.
An OH&S management system can assist an organization to fulfil its applicable legal requirements.
0.3 Success factors
The implementation of an OH&S management system is a strategic and operational decision for an organization. The success of the OH&S management system depends on leadership, commitment and participation from all levels and functions of the organization. The implementation and sustainability of an OH&S management system, its effectiveness and its ability to achieve its objectives are dependent on a number of key factors which can include:
- top management leadership and commitment;
- top management developing, leading and promoting a culture in the organization that supports the OH&S management system;
- participation of workers, and where they exist, workers’ representatives;
- processes for communication and consultation;
- allocation of the necessary resources for its sustainability;
- clear OH&S policies, which are compatible with the overall strategic objectives and direction of the organization;
- the integration of the OH&S management system into the organization’s business processes;
- the continual evaluation and monitoring of the OH&S management system to improve OH&S performance;
- OH&S objectives that align with the OH&S policies and reflect the organization’s OH&S hazards and risks;
- awareness of its applicable legal requirements and other requirements;
- effective processes for identification of OH&S hazards, control of the OH&S risks and taking advantage of OH&S opportunities.
This International Standard, like other International Standards, is not intended to increase or change an organization’s legal requirements.
Demonstration of successful implementation of this International Standard can be used by an organization to give assurance to workers and other interested parties that an effective OH&S management system is in place. Adoption of this International Standard, however, will not in itself guarantee optimal outcomes.
The level of detail, the complexity, the extent of documented information, and the resources needed to ensure the success of an organization’s OH&S management system will depend on a number of factors, such as: