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What is an OHSMS?

Occupational Health and Safety Management System

An Occupational Health and Safety Management System (or “OHSMS”) determines and continually improves an organization’s Health and Safety position and performance. It follows an outline and is managed like any other facet of a business, such as with marketing or engineering functions. It provides a framework for supporting safe and healthy workplaces, implementing improvements and meeting regulatory requirements.

Sometimes referred to as a Safety Management System (or “SMS”), ideally it is built on an existing environmental or quality management system such as ISO 14001 or ISO 9001.

Here is a basic summary of the outline defined in the ISO 45001 requirements document.

  1. Review the operational health and safety hazards.
  2. Assess the risks associated with them.
  3. Determine the controls necessary to mitigate the impacts/risks.
  4. Define goals for health and safety performance.
  5. Create a plan to achieve the goals.
  6. Monitor performance against targets and goals.
  7. Report the results.
  8. Review the OHSMS results and continually improve.

Not every system will present these steps in exactly the same way, but the basic principles are the same.

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The good news is that the format for the standards are similar. A basic comparison between the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 45001:2018 is provided in (comparison xl-spreadsheet – see Content Page B-1). For reference, the previous OHSAS 18001:2007 requirements are included in the spreadsheet.

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