In a previous blog, I noted that five significant changes were made in the 2007 revision of OHSAS 18001.
One of these changes is in the intended coverage of OHSAS 18001. As noted in the Scope section of the revised standard, OHSAS 18001 is “intended to address occupational health and safety, and is not intended to address other health and safety issues such as employee wellbeing/wellness programmes, product safety, property damage or environmental impacts.”
Several changes were made to the standard to clarify the intended scope of coverage – most notably in the revision and/or addition of several key definitions.
First, the definition of hazard no longer includes “damage to property or damage to the workplace environment.” It was concluded that these types of damage are part of the field of asset management – not part of occupational safety and health. For purposes of OHSAS 18001, hazards are limited to sources, situations or acts with the potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill health. The focus is on harm to humans not property.
New definitions were added to the standard for “ill health” and “workplace.” Neither of these terms were defined in the 1999 standard. Ill health is defined as “identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity or work-related situation.” The addition of this definition reflects an increased emphasis on health within OHSAS 18001. Workplace is defined as “any physical location in which work-related activities are performed under the control of the organization.” This definition is consistent with changes made throughout the standard that tie the OH&S responsibilities of the organization to areas and persons “under its control.”
Occupational health and safety (OH&S) is defined in OHSAS 18001 as “conditions and factors that affect, or could affect, the health and safety of employees, temporary workers, contractor personnel, visitors or any other person in the workplace.” A note has been added to this definition that states “organizations may have a legal requirement for the health and safety of persons beyond the immediate workplace or who are exposed to workplace activities.” Organizations may need to take such legal obligations into account in developing their OH&S management system.
Organizations seeking certification to OHSAS 18001:2007 need to determine and document the scope their OH&S management systems (a new requirement in section 4.1 of the standard). This will mean careful consideration of exactly which workplaces and what individuals are covered. For some organizations, this may mean more attention to issues such as the visitor safety and evaluation of hazards to workers working at off-site locations (e.g. transit drivers).
© ENLAR® Compliance Services, Inc. (2007)
Category: Standards & Certification