When it comes to the health and safety of your staff, customers and suppliers, attention to detail is of paramount importance. Anything that slips under the radar can result in injury, law suits and damage to your reputation. A health and safety management system works to identify risks and put in place efficient processes to avoid mishaps and accidents. There are obviously obligations around health and safety that your company must commit to in order to not break the law but a health and safety management system helps you to take it that one step further to really reduce the risk of accidents.
It is a good idea to appoint someone in your company to head up the management system. This ensures that should something go wrong that there is someone designated as accountable. This isnt so that blame can be put on someone but so that it is someones duty to manage the system and monitor any changes. They would be in charge of ensuring that hazards, however small, have been identified and that solutions have been implemented to reduce any risks. They should also make sure that all staff have been trained effectively and that routine checks are done to make sure that nothing has changed.
Many organisations, especially larger companies and those in the public sector choose to obtain OHSAS 18001. This is the international standard as set by ISO (international organisation for standardisation) for health and safety systems management. There are many reasons for its popularity but the main one is that is provides clear and easy to implement guidelines for health and safety policy in the workplace. After you achieved the standard, you will be presented with a company handbook that is bespoke to you and your processes. This is ideal for staff training and means that should anything change, you can easily just add the new policies to the handbook.
However you choose to implement a health and safety management system, it can greatly reduce the chance of an accident in the workplace, instilling confidence in staff, suppliers and customers. OHSAS 18001 is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to health and safety at work.
By: Paul Smart
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This article has been written on behalf of QMS International, a UK-based company providing ISO certifications worldwide including OHSAS 18001 for health and safety management systems.