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OHSAS 18001 Expert Blog
Safety and Health Management Systems

ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc. assists companies with developing, implementing and maintaining occupational safety and health management systems.  Are you:

  • Confused about occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) standards?
  • Unsure what VPP, OHSAS 18001, ANSI/AIHA Z10 are and which standard is right for your organization?
  • Unclear how to go about implementing an occupational safety and health management system?
  • Uncertain whether to pursue registration of your OH&S management system?
OHSAS 18001 Expert Blog
ENLAR is pleased to announce a new resource for individuals interested in EHS management systems.

This blog has been set up as forum for sharing ideas and opinions, on developing, implementing and maintaining occupational health and safety management systems.

Visit the OHSAS 18001 Expert blog to see what is new with OHSAS 18001 and to share your input with others.


If you answered YES to any of the above, ENLAR can help!

This web page provides the following information about occupational safety and health management systems:

OH&S Management Systems are not new!

Although the current interest in occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) may lead you to believe that this is a new concept, it is not.

Occupational safety and health management has existing in many industries for a long time - in some cases 100 years or longer. Although typically called "programs" many of these existing programs were developed to specifically address management system elements such as top management involvement, maintaining written policies and procedures and on-going program evaluation and improvement. In fact, occupational safety and health management laws, programs, systems and standards have typically been more formalized and in existence longer than those dealing with environmental protection.  For example:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration came into existence in 1970 - long before the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) was originally announced in the July 2, 1982 Federal Register and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
  • The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) developed audit criteria for evaluating the performance of Occupational Health Programs in the 1980s.
  • California established requirements for Injury and Illness Prevention Programs in the early 1990's.

So what is new?

Organizations are now expressing an interest in an OHSMS international standard that provides a specification for use in 3rd party certification. Such a standard allows organizations to develop one integrated management system that addresses quality and environmental issues as well as occupational safety and health.

The push to develop an occupational safety and health standard to meet this need began in the 1990's with two failed attempts to get the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to develop an OHSMS specification standard. This failure to develop an ISO standard lead directly to the development of OHSAS 18001.

A survey performed by the OHSAS Project Group in 2004 on the availability and use of OH&S management system standards found the following:

  • 32 OH&S management system specification documents
  • 42 OH&S guidance documents
  • 11091 certifications based on OH&S specification documents in 82 different countries

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What is OHSAS 18001?

OHSAS 18001 is a consensus document developed in 1999 by an independent group of national standards bodies and certification bodies (registrars). OHSAS stands for Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series.

OHSAS 18001 was based on and structured the same way as ISO 14001. It was specifically developed to be compatible with ISO 9001, the quality management system standard, and ISO 14001 to allow companies to develop and register integrated quality, environmental and occupational safety and health management systems.

It was developed to replace a number of registrar-specific specifications and to serve as a model for developing an ISO standard.

The OHSAS 18001 standard is currently in the process of being revised. The OHSAS Working Group reached consensus on proposed changes to the standard in its meeting in Shanghai, China on March 26 to 30, 2007. The revised standard should be published in July 2007.

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What is ANSI/AIHA Z10?

ANSI/AIHA Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, is a standard developed in the United States through the standard setting process of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) as the secretariat. A number of stakeholders participated in this standard-setting process including OSHA, representatives of organized labor and industry trade associations.

ANSI/AIHA Z10 was released on September 5, 2005. Copies of the standard are available from AIHAMore resources and links.

Z10 was developed to be compatible with other management systems such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and is based on the management system concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act.

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How Do OHSAS 18001 and ANSI/AIHA Z10 Compare?

OHSAS 18001 and ANSI/AIHA Z10 are both management system standards developed based on the concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act.

If you would like more detailed information on how the elements of ANSI/AIHA Z10 and OHSAS 18001 compare to the requirements of ISO 14001:2004, ENLAR has put together a Quick Guide to EMS and OHMS Requirements. This 8-page laminated guide summarizes the requirements of these standards in an easy-to-follow format that will help you quickly determine the similarities and major differences between the standards.

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5 Steps to Implementing an OHSMS

Even if the stakeholders and content are different, the steps to implementing an OHS management system are similar to the process used for implementing an ISO 14001 environmental management system:

Step 1 - Understand OHMS Requirements Services ENLAR Provides for Step 1
Since there are several different OHSMS standards, it is important to identify which standards you are going to use and what requirements you need to meet as you develop your management system.
Step 2 - Evaluate Your Compliance Status & Organize your Existing Documentation Services ENLAR Provides for Step 2
Before you begin making changes to your existing programs, it is importance that you identify your major compliance issues.

You also need to ensure that your existing records and documents are accessible and organized. You don't want to re-invent the wheel.

  • Preparation of a Site-Specific EHS Compliance Guidebook
  • Regulatory Compliance Audit/Evaluation
  • Assistance with Document and Record Management
  • Training Course - From File to Files: Creating and Managing EHS Documentation
Step 3 - Develop an Implementation Plan Services ENLAR Provides for Step 3
Management system implementation goes more smoothly if you develop an implementation plan first. In order to develop this plan, you need to know were you are (the current programs and system you have in place), where you are going (the requirements you intend meeting) and the resources you have available to get there.
  • OHSMS Gap Assessment
  • OHSMS Implementation Strategic Planning
  • Training Course - Implementing an Integrated Environmental, Safety & Health Management System
Step 4 - Revise your Existing Programs Services ENLAR Provides for Step 4
Once you have developed your implementation plan, you can start making the changes needed to your existing program to meet the management system requirements you have identified.

For most organizations this means formalizing their hazard and risk identification processes, identifying roles and responsibilities, developing written procedures, identifying appropriate metrics, developing employee training programs, establishing internal audit programs and instituting corrective & preventive action processes.

  • Conducting Facilitated Hazard Assessment Workshops
  • Preparation of Management System Documentation
  • Assistance with Developing and Conducting Employee Training
  • Internal Auditor Training and Internal Audit Program Development
Step 5 - Maintain your Management System Services ENLAR Provides for Step 5
Once your management system is implemented, you need to make sure you have processes in place to ensure it continues to function. New employees need to be trained as do new auditors. You need to keep your identification of legal requirements up to date and conduct periodic compliance evaluations.
  • On-going Assistance with Regulatory Compliance Issues and Annual Up-dating of Site-Specific Compliance Guidebooks
  • Periodic Regulatory Compliance Evaluation
  • Out-sourced Internal Audit Programs
  • Training Courses - Internal Auditor Training, Introduction to OHS Management Systems

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What about OHSMS "Registration"?

There is no OHSAS certification / accreditation scheme comparable to what is in place for ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. In particular:

  • There is No ISO standard
  • There is No standard establishing OHSMS auditor competency qualifications
  • There are No standards for accreditation/certification of OHS management systems

Despite this, there are a number of organizations offering OHSMS certificates - most to OHSAS 18001. Some of these are sound value-added programs offered by credible organizations; others appear to be little more than the management system equivalent of "diploma mills."

There are currently efforts underway to add more credibility to the certifications being offered in the OHSMS arena.

If you would like more information about these efforts, visit the OHSAS 18001 Expert blog.

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Phone: 727-754-3670

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