Participation and Consultation

| July 13, 2007

One of the major criticisms of the 1999 version of OHSAS 18001 was that it was a “management” standard that ignored “labor” interests.  Significant changes were made in section 4.4.3 of the standard to address these concerns.

First, this section of the standard was divided into two sub-sections: 4.4.3.1 Communication and 4.4.3.2 Participation and Consultation.  The requirements in sub-section 4.4.3.1 for internal and external communication are similar to the communication requirements in ISO 14001.  The requirements in sub-section 4.4.3.2; however, are unique to OHSAS 18001 and focused specifically on getting input from workers and contractors.

An organization’s OHSMS communication procedures now need to address communication with several different parties:

  • internal communication between various departments and functions
  • communicating with visitors to the workplace
  • participation of workers in OHSMS activities
  • communication and consultation with contractors, and
  • consultation with external interested parties, when appropriate

In particular, the procedures developed for worker participation now need to address the following:

  • appropriate involvement in hazard identification, risk assessment and determination of controls
  • appropriate involvement in incident investigation
  • involvement in the development and review of OH&S policies and objectives
  • consultation where there are changes that affect a worker’s OH&S
  • representation on OH&S matters
  • informing workers about the arrangements made for their participation and the identity of their representative(s) on OH&S matters

It should be noted that this worker participation requirement is not strictly a “labor” (employee-employer) issue.  In the context of OHSAS 18001, the OHSMS needs to provide for the participation of all persons performing work under the control of the organization.

Category: OHSAS 18001:2007 Revisions

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