Workplace injuries cost US businesses $171 billion in 2019.
Would you like to lower the number of accidents and injuries in your organization? OHS management can help. An OHS management system helps you reduce risks to health and safety.
Find out more about what an OHS management system is and how to implement one. You’ll be ready to take the first step toward improving your workplace safety.
What Is OHS?
Occupational health and safety (OHS) deals with health and safety in the workplace. OHS is strongly focused on reducing risks.
OHS includes the laws, standards, and programs that make the workplace safer. These safety standards aim to reduce risks for workers, customers, and other stakeholders.
OHS addresses a wide variety of workplace hazards. Standards are in place to reduce, remove, or replace job site hazards.
What Is an OHS Management System?
An OHS management system is a framework. It helps an organization with a range of objectives relating to health and safety. These goals include:
- Identify and control health and safety risks
- Reduce the likelihood of incidents
- Comply with health and safety regulations
- Continually improve performance on health and safety issues
An OHS management system is proactive. This is one of its key features.
Traditional approaches to managing workplace health and safety are usually reactive. An organization takes action only after an accident. Identifying and fixing hazards before they cause an incident is more effective.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides recommended practices. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) outlines what a system should include.
Benefits of an OHS Management System
An OHS management system helps you improve your business. It brings benefits for your employees and can increase your profitability.
You can prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. An OHS management system can engage workers and improve morale.
You’ll reduce costs like workers’ compensation premiums. You can increase productivity. You’ll also increase stakeholder confidence in your business.
Management Leadership and Employee Participation
A successful OHS management system depends on vision and leadership from senior management. Employee participation is another critical component.
Senior Management Commitment
Leadership and commitment from senior management set the tone for OHS management. Management leadership establishes the overall OHS policy. It provides the appropriate resources to implement the systems and policies.
The management team establishes the authority and responsibilities for the OHS management system. They also determine accountability. Management integrates health and safety management into the organization’s other systems and processes.
An OHS management system will only succeed if workers and their representatives participate. Workers benefit when OHS management succeeds in reducing risks. They’re often the ones who suffer the consequences of poor risk management.
The management team can promote employee participation in several ways. First, management can communicate the rationale behind policies and procedures.
Second, they can give employees the time and resources to follow these guidelines. Employees need timely information and training.
Finally, management should try to identify anything that prevents workers from participating. They can then try to remove those obstacles.
The planning process for an OHS management system sets specific goals and objectives. It first identifies OHS risks and hazards. The next step is prioritizing those issues.
After that, the management team creates objectives. These goals should be the ones most likely to reduce OHS risk and improve health and safety. The final step is making an implementation plan to achieve those objectives.
After making a plan for your OHS management system, you need to implement it. You may want to start with a basic program and expand from there.
Implementing an OHS management system starts with operational elements. These components include:
- Risk assessments
- Establishing a chain of command
- Review of the system framework
- Change management
- Process verification
In addition to operational elements, employee training is an important part of the implementation. Training should cover all levels of the organization. Communication and documentation are also necessary.
These steps will help your organization start an OHS management system successfully.
How to Promote Continuous Improvement
An OHS management system needs to evolve as your organization changes. Efforts to monitor, evaluate, and improve the system should be ongoing.
The continual improvement cycle helps you address changing workplace hazards. Continual improvement starts with your corporate policy. The policy that your senior management established guides future development of the system.
After the planning and implementation phases, monitoring and evaluation are necessary. You’ll need to measure your system processes against your policy objectives. You can take corrective action when necessary.
Read Also: YOUR WAY TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Management review provides accountability throughout the OHS management system. Employers should evaluate the program after implementation. This verifies that it’s working as it should.
After that, periodic review can help keep everything on track. Management review should happen at least once a year. The review should consider data that includes:
- Overall progress toward OHS risk reduction
- Effectiveness of processes to identify, analyze, and prioritize risk
- Effectiveness of processes to address causes of risks
- Input from workers and their representatives
- Status updates on any corrective or preventive actions
- Performance of the OHS management system with regard to policy objectives
Another factor to consider includes resource needs and allocation. The alignment of the OHS management system with your business plan is also important.
Each management review should produce concrete action items. It should note any necessary adjustments to the OHS management system.
Starting Your OHS Management System
OHS management brings many benefits to your organization. Your workplace is safer for your employees, contractors, and customers.
You increase productivity and decrease costs. Your business stays in compliance with health and safety regulations.
Implementing an OHS management system starts with identifying the need for change. You can start small. Each step brings your workplace to a higher level of health and safety achievement.
Check out our other business articles for more informative guides like this.