01/06/2003

Effective Occupational Safety and Health Management System

The latest study from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work,
entitled "The use of occupational safety and health management systems in the
Member States of the European Union" has identified the five building blocks
for an effective occupational safety and health (OSH) management system.
Illustrated by case studies, the five ingredients include:

1. Obtaining the support and involvement of all stakeholders: This is vital for
an organization-wide sense of accountability, responsibility and authority.
Management must be fully committed to the initiative and provide the necessary
resources. At the same time, employees need to participate in the programme
from the outset, either directly or via representative bodies, such as safety
committees.

2. Setting measurable goals, following a baseline hazard assessment: A risk
assessment needs to be conducted to identify existing and potential problem
areas. Quantifiable and practically achievable goals to improve OSH standards
also have to be set. These can range from illness and injury rates, possibly
benchmarked against enterprises in the same sector, to measures of the
workforce's general health and well-being.

3. Focussing on staff safety when implementing the system: The health and
safety of staff should be centre stage, supported by training and appropriately
qualified OSH personnel. Clearly documented and well-publicized OSH management
procedures are equally important, including preventive measures to protect
staff and hazard control systems to reduce the impact of any unexpected
problems. Procuring goods and services that conform to the organisation's
safety standards is also advisable.

4. Communicating progress and "room for improvement": An OSH audit system is
needed to monitor safety and health and investigate and analyse the root causes
of any accidents. The results, together with other OSH-related information,
should be regularly communicated across the organization to foster an OSH
culture.

5. Working towards continual improvement: Regular management reviews of the
system are required in order to identify areas where it can be improved,
especially if there are major organization changes. It is essential that the
system is integrated into every facet of the business, including linking it to
existing management systems, such as ISO9002.

Further information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work