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OHSAS 18001 Safety and Health Management System Planning

April 29, 2014 - Kestrel Management

The planning process and evidence of this process are key requirements for implementing and certifying an OHSAS 18001 Safety and Health Management System (OHSMS). When planning a compliant system, it should be determined at the outset whether the system to be implemented will be submitted to a registrar for certification. This is an important planning consideration, along with how the company determines the interaction of this level of OHSMS through its corporate to facility entities.

Planning as Proof

Ultimately, the planning process is required as proof that the proper steps have been taken in developing a program meeting the OHSAS 18001 requirements. Planning for the OHSMS should provide the description and evidence that all of the fundamental requirements of the system are addressed, including the management structure, determination of all workplace hazards, regulatory register, safety policy, emergency preparedness, facility/equipment design, key performance indicators, and a regulatory calendar. In the initial design and development of the program, it is important that each of these areas is addressed and that each section of the OHSAS 18001 guidance standard is addressed. This process must also be part of an annual planning process once the program is implemented to ensure continuous improvement requirements are met.

Detailed Plan of Work

Within a formal OHSMS and meeting the regulatory requirements, the company is responsible for identifying and determining the workplace hazards of all work activities under all conditions. This creates the need for a detailed plan of work activities that must be based on both process hazard and job hazard to meet all possible hazard scenarios and conditions.

An accepted method for establishing a list and the proper risk assessment for each workplace hazard is to complete Job Safety Analysis (JSA) for all work activities and under all possible operating conditions (normal and abnormal). For planning the OHSAS 18001 system for development, a list of job type needs to be established, and the process for determining each associated job hazard by specific activity must be completed.

This is a key program development planning requirement that needs to be addressed in the planning and development process. Companies implementing an OHSMS program need to best determine the process for completing the JSAs and ensuring that all operating conditions are included in the hazard analysis, including startup, change over, personnel change, maintenance conditions, or special operating conditions. It is important that all hazards be included in this process and that building and equipment design factors not specific to the job be considered, in addition to the job-specific hazards. This comprehensive level of planning is important to the fundamental goal of the OHSMS and comprehensive worker safety.

Structured Project Plan

The planning process is commonly completed with the development of a structured project plan and related timelines. This process provides the basis for determining planning responsibility, monitoring, and evidence that the necessary training has been adequately completed. A well-founded and properly conducted planning process will lead to both an effective program and a means for auditing the program by management and interested parties, when required. The audit findings are used by management to populate the corrective and preventive action program. And by completing a root cause analysis for these issues of concern, the problem should be resolved appropriately and correctly and never reappear.

Submitted by: Randy Block

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