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  • Plan (i.e., goals, objectives, standard-setting, accountability, etc.),

  • Do (i.e., implementing organizational processes like training and joint-health-and-safety-committee meetings),

  • Check (i.e., evaluate through injury statistics reviews, inspections, root-cause analyses, audits, etc.), and

  • Act (i.e., based on the evaluation results, make changes to improve the OHSMS and its effectiveness).

In contrast, traditional OHS programs can be characterized as having relatively little in the Check and Act domains. Furthermore, action tends to be reactive in response to workplace accidents, legislation, or enforcement, rather than proactive.

Redinger and Levine (1998) gave detailed consideration to what constitutes an OHSMS. After reviewing 13 publicly available management system documents for occupational health and safety, environment, or quality, they selected four from which to construct a “universal OHSMS instrument.” The four management systems on which this instrument was based are:

  • the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s Voluntary Protection Program, which was the most comprehensive management system within OSHA

  • ISO 14001, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) environmental management system standard

  • BS8800, a voluntary standard from the British Standards Institute, based on both the Health and Safety Executive’s HSG65 model (HSE, 1997) and ISO 14001

  • the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s OHSMS (Dyjack,

    • 1998)

      , which was designed to align with ISO 9001, the quality

management system standard.

The authors selected these models because each was comprehensive, and together they represented the essential management system elements present in all 13 management system documents.

With the help of an expert team consisting of people from labour, government, industry, academia and professional associations, the text of the four management system documents was deconstructed until each text fragment represented a distinct, simple element of the management system. The fragments were then used to construct the universal OHSMS model with its 27 elements, onto which each of the simpler elements could be mapped.

This work is valuable from at least two points of view. First, their instrument operationally defines the scope of OHSMSs, assuming one can be confident that the 13 management system documents used at the outset

Institute for Work & Health

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