Criteria and Issues of an OHSAS System

A systematic, documented verification process of objectively obtaining and evaluating audit evidence events, condition or information about these matters, conform to audit criteria, and communicating ate results of this process to the client. In executing and OHSAS – audit, one should always keep in mind that the basic questions that should be answered are:

Is the OHSAS complete?

Does it contain all the necessary elements? Answering this question is clearer if the organisation use an OHSAS standard as a reference. Then the elements, which should be there, are described very clearly. Checks may need to cover:

  • OHSAS policy
  • OHSAS programme
  • Organisational structure, tasks, responsibilities, authorities
  • Internal and external communications
  • Procedures, instructions
  • Training and competence
  • Measuring and recording
  • Corrective mechanisms
  • OHSAS auditing and management review processes
  • Emergency procedures and plans.

Questions relating to OHSAS 18001 policy could then e.g. be:

  • Has the OHSAS policy been established in writing?
  • Has it been communicated to all employees?
  • Is it appropriate to the nature, scale and OHSAS impacts of the activities, products and services
  • Does it include a commitment to continual improvement of the OHSAS performance and to prevention of pollution?

Is it the right OHSAS 18001 for the activities involved?

This involves checking whether the OHSAS elements have been properly tailored to the nature and the complexity of the organisation’s activities, and to the OHSAS aspects and impacts that are linked to them.

For this criterion it will be necessary to check issues such as:

  • Local situation of the company
  • Air, water emissions and discharges
  • Soil pollution
  • Handling and storage of raw materials, chemicals and hazardous substance
  • Collection and disposal of wastes
  • Technical OHSAS provisions
  • Process performance and management
  • OHSAS risks
  • Maintenance aspects.

Is it implemented well?

The auditor should check whether the system has really been implemented at all levels and activities in the organisation. Also this check will have to done by sampling. Checks may include:

  • Availability and implementations of procedures
  • Training records
  • Availability of records and measurements reports
  • Whether the OHSAS policy has been communicated to all employees.

Is it suitable for fulfilling the OHSAS 18001 policy and objectives of the organisation?

One can have a complete system, it can be tailored well to the nature and the complexity at hand, it can be implemented well, and still it may not be sufficient to fulfill the organisation’s OHSAS 18001 policy and objectives. Therefore the audit should also take into account checking the real OHSAS performance achieved with the system against the policy and objectives. Checks may include:

  • Checking measurements of emissions and discharges against objectives.
  • Checking specific provisions in licenses and regulations for compliance

The OHSAS 18001 system has to be implemented with planned approach and target dates have to be fixed for smooth installation of ISO: 14001. The general steps listed below have to be planned with target dates for OHSAS installation:

  • Conduct OHSAS: 18001-awareness program (top + middle + bottom level).
  • Form a steering committee and task force for documentation
  • Identification of All Possible OHSAS Aspects to the company.
  • Brainstorming On Impacts of All Possible Aspects. Identification of Most Significant Aspects.
  • Define OHSAS Policy, Objectives and Targets.
  • Prepare documents of OHSAS management system, Records, Legal Requirements.
  • Train all for OHSAS Policy and for achieving Objectives & Targets.
  • Communication to all including Suppliers and Interested parties.
  • Implementation & train all personnel in the use of procedures & formats.
  • Reparation and Implementation of OHSAS programme.
  • Train internal auditors.
  • Assess the system through first internal audit.
  • Take corrective actions for non-conformities.
  • Apply for certification.
  • Assess the system through second round of internal audit.
  • Avail onsite document adequacy of certifying body.
  • Take actions on suggestions given by them.
  • Final audit by certifying body.

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