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What Sort of Things are in a Health & Safety Management System?

Studies have estimated that for every £1 of direct costs incurred in treating and providing disability benefits to an injured employee, employers incur an additional £4 in indirect costs.

This week we’ll take a closer look at what sort of things are in a H&S management system, the kind of issues that it will need to address.


So, for starters, the sort of things that you'll need to consider would be:


  • Defining the OHSMS and its scope within your organisation

  • Developing procedures for the ongoing identification of hazards, assessments of risks and determination of the necessary controls

  • Developing an OH&S programme with objectives and targets

  • Defining relevant management, accountability, structure, roles, responsibilities, authorities, etc

  • Ensure that persons performing tasks are competent and trained to do them safely

  • Outline effective processes for internal & external communications

  • Controlling H&S-related documents so that current versions are distributed and available at points of use and obsolete versions are removed

  • Identifying critical functions associated with the identified hazards where controls are necessary

  • Having a process in place for identifying and responding to H&S-related emergencies

  • Developing plans to monitor and measure OH&S performance on a regular basis

  • Developing processes for scheduling evaluations of compliance, investigating incidents and acting on health and safety non-conformances, and conducting audits at planned intervals


Why you should use ISO 45001 as your Health & Safety Management System


Workplace accidents and injuries significantly damage the productivity and efficiency of your operations. Studies have estimated that for every £1 of direct costs incurred in treating and providing disability benefits to an injured employee, employers incur an additional £4 in indirect costs, such as management time spent investigating and handling the claim, lost productivity of the injured worker, hiring and retraining a replacement employee, associated property damage and more.


The cumulative consequences of injuries and accidents are sobering. Such incidents seriously affect bottom-line profit by adding unnecessary costs to your operations and subjecting your company to potential fines and penalties. These costs can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds, depending on the size and scope of your business.


In fact, in February 2016, the H&S punishments regime was considerably beefed up - when the court embarks on its consideration of the appropriate financial penalty, it is required to consider a number of separate steps including:


  • the seriousness of the offence by determining the risk of harm (low, medium or high) and culpability of an offender;

  • the appropriate starting point and category range for an offence, based on a company’s turnover, using tables provided in guidelines. There are five categories of organisation ranging from micro (where turnover is not more than £2 million) to ‘very large’ (where the offending organisation’s turnover very greatly exceeds the threshold for large organisations, namely £50 million and over);

  • a range of factual elements providing the context of the offence to establish if further adjustment of the fine within the category range is required (the aggravating and mitigating features);

  • whether the proposed fine fulfils the objectives of sentencing these types of offences (i.e. reflecting the seriousness of the offence and the financial circumstances of the offender). The court may adjust the fine upwards or downwards, including outside the range, by looking at factors such as profitability and the impact of the fine on the ability of the offender to improve conditions in the organisation;

  • any factors which indicate a reduction, such as assistance to the prosecution and a reduction for guilty pleas.


Courts expect full financial accounts to be served and will consider wider financial information such as details of director remuneration, assets, loans, etc, to establish a clear picture of the company’s financial resources. The guidelines are clear - the fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact and bring home to management and any shareholders the need to comply with health and safety legislation.


The need for putting in an OHSMS has never been greater, and ISO 45001 fits the bill perfectly. Once your organisation has embraced the need to prioritise workplace safety, the standard gets you to focus on two interrelated, yet distinctly different, objectives: compliance and accident prevention.


Many organisations, however, make the mistake of limiting their efforts to this first objective, and neglect the second, much greater, challenge: accident prevention. A successful workplace safety programme requires that an organisation address and achieve both objectives.


If you would like to look at how to implement an ISO 45001 H&S management system, then simply contact us.


Or, if you want to see what's involved in more detail, then get a completely free, no obligation, totally tailored ISO Gap Analysis for your business (only available to UK businesses).


Article originated in The Ideas Distillery blog


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