Continually Improving Your OH&S Management System

| August 14, 2007

Yesterday, I discussed areas to concentrate on for maintaining your OHSAS 18001 management system.  What about continual improvement of your occupational health and safety management system?

Section 4.1 of OHSAS 18001:2007 sets out five general requirements for an OH&S management system —

  1. establishing a management system
  2. documenting your management system
  3. implementing your management system
  4. maintaining your management system
  5. continually improving your management system

The first three of these tasks (establishing, documenting and implementing your OHSMS) are typically completed up-front when an organization makes changes to its existing OH&S programs to conform to OHSAS 18001.  Maintaining and continually improving the occupational health and safety management system are different – they are on-going tasks that are never done.  They are the requirements that transform an OHSMS from “a dusty binder on a shelf” to a meaningful part of an organization’s overall management system.

Continual improvement is an important requirement of an OHSAS 18001 management system.  It is one of the commitments an organization must make in its OH&S policy.  It is a major reason why an organization sets OHSMS objectives (section 4.3.3) and measures OH&S performance (section 4.5.1).  It is “the lenses” through which outputs from management review are viewed.  Section 4.6 of OHSAS 18001 states “The outputs from management reviews shall be consistent with the organization’s commitment to continual improvement….”

So what is continual improvement?

OHSAS 18001:2007 defines it as the “recurring process of enhancing the OH&S management system in order to achieve improvements in overall OH&S performance consistent with the organization’s OH&S policy.”

© ENLAR® Compliance Services, Inc. (2007)

Category: OHSAS 18001:2007 Revisions, OHSMS Implementation

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