In Norway, the major influences cited are the move to Total Quality Management related to business and environmental control, as well as a democratic tradition which emphasizes participation and cooperation of all parties. In Australia, the parallel environmental legislation and systems framework of international standards is seen as influential; in this context, the introduction of OHSMS is described as a “hybrid mixture of regulatory mandate and incentives to promote the ‘voluntary’ adoption of OHSM systems by employers”.
Finally, a review by Gallagher et al. (2003) cites several of the studies which are included in this systematic review, as well as Gallagher’s own primary research leading to her doctoral dissertation (Gallagher, 2000), and an exploratory study by the same authors, which was done for Australia’s National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (2001). They note that expert consultations turned up doubts and uncertainties as to the effectiveness of OHSMSs, and that research on their effectiveness tends to be inconclusive. They cite international research endorsing the value of the individual components of OHSMS, however, and note that the findings which recur in these studies were the critical role of senior management, and the importance of worker participation.
The article cites Gallagher’s dissertation research, which developed a taxonomy of different kinds of system (based on OSH control strategy and on the type of management structure and style). The former were categorized as “safe person” (the focus being on employee behaviour), and “safe place” (focusing on hazard control); the latter as “traditional” (OSH marginal, poorly integrated into strategy and operations, and involving top- down decisions), and “innovative” (driven by senior management, integrated into business planning and production, and involving teamwork and employee participation). Of 20 companies which Gallagher had studied, the three categorized as having “innovative management” and “safe place” strategies achieved above average performance on the SafetyMAP “output” data. They also had declining trends in injury data and against industry benchmarks. In contrast, those companies with “traditional management” and “safe person strategies” did less well.
The “experts” who were consulted as part of Gallagher’s research emphasized some conditions they felt necessary for OHSMSs to succeed: OHSMSs customized to organizational needs; developed with stakeholder input; senior executives committed to OSH performance, willing to commit resources and make line managers accountable, and to lead by example; integration of OHSMS operations and other organizational functions; encouragement for employee participation and independent employee representation. The same experts cited barriers: failure to meet the above- mentioned conditions, especially those involving manager commitment and employee involvement; inappropriate use of audit tools; specific contextual
Effectiveness of Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems: A Systematic Review