Mar 21st 2023
OHS Management System for Business Services in Australia
Being a business owner or manager is no small responsibility. Collaboration between key stakeholders is essential for developing an effective policy that ensures your staff remains safe. Such policies should be regularly monitored and reviewed to maintain compliance with laws on employee protection.
With the right approach, you can create an environment of trust, giving your workplace increased peace of mind knowing their working conditions are carefully managed. Occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems provide the framework for doing that. They cover many topics around health, safety, and welfare for employees in any business.
What is an OHS Management System?
An OHS Management System (OHSMS) is a coordinated and systematic approach to managing workplace occupational health and safety risks. It is a framework that helps organisations identify, assess, and manage health and safety hazards in their work environment.
An OHSMS provides a structured approach to ensure the safety of employees, contractors, visitors, and other stakeholders. It encompasses the laws, regulations, processes, and procedures to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. The system includes:
- Identification, assessment, and control of hazards present in the workplace
- Appropriate training, supervision, communication, and reporting between employees, employers, and other stakeholders
- Provision of necessary personal protective equipment to prevent accidents, injuries, or illnesses related to work activities
Are WHS Management System and OHS Management System the Same?
In the Australian context, the difference between a WHS Management System and an OHS Management System is mainly a matter of terminology and legal framework.
WHS stands for Workplace Health and Safety, the term used in Australia since 2012 when most Australian jurisdictions adopted the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws.
Before adopting WHS laws, Australia used the term OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) to refer to workplace health and safety management.
In relation to OHS Management systems, it is worth noting that the OHS terminology is still commonly used in Australia for international standards, such as AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 This standard provides a framework for organisations to manage and improve their occupational health and safety performance.
The adoption of the WHS laws aimed to simplify and harmonise the legal framework for workplace health and safety in Australia, creating a nationally consistent approach to managing workplace health and safety risks. Therefore, while there may be some terminology and legal requirements differences between a WHS Management System and an OHS Management System, the general principles and objectives are the same.
Components of OHS Management Systems
The core components of OHS management systems are relatively consistent, regardless of the industry or country. The system should include the following:
- Planning: The first key component of the OHS management system is planning. This involves setting up a safety management system for occupational health and safety, identifying hazards and risks, and assigning responsibility for corrective actions.
- Organising: Organising involves allocating resources, roles, and responsibilities, record-keeping, and communication processes to ensure the health and safety of workers.
- Policies and procedures: Establishing and communicating policies and procedures for employee health and safety should be prioritised. Policies provide direction to help guide decision-making throughout your organisation, while procedures outline how to implement those decisions.
- Training: Every employer has duty-of-care obligations towards their employees. It means providing adequate training on best practices, proper use of equipment, safety protocols, and many others.
- Risk management and mitigation: Conducting occupational risk assessments is essential to any OHS management system. Identifying potential hazards before they become incidents can save lives and money. Once identified, these risks can be mitigated or eliminated through appropriate control measures such as engineering interventions or process modifications.
- Inspections and audits: Regular inspections help account for any unsafe conditions that might arise over time. At the same time, periodic audits ensure compliance with safety legislation at all times (from local codes to international standards).
- Incident investigation and reporting: When accidents happen, organisations must investigate them thoroughly – not only to determine who was at fault but also why it happened in the first place; this information can prevent similar occurrences from happening again.
- Certifications: Obtaining certifications for your OHS management system validates the effectiveness of your processes and procedures, assuring stakeholders and customers that your organisation takes occupational health and safety seriously.
- Monitoring and evaluation of OHS performance: Regular monitoring and review of the OHS management system help identify potential gaps or improvement areas. They also ensure the system remains current with the industry's changing safety and health regulations.
AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018
In Australia, an OHSMS may be written in alignment with AS/NZS 45001:2018 which the adopted international standard for occupational health and safety management systems. It guides how to develop an effective approach to identify, control and reduce health and safety risks in the workplace.
AS/NZS 45001:2018 is Australia's version of ISO 45001, the international occupational health and safety management standard. It helps organisations create a system to keep people safe at work. It also helps reduce risks and ensure that any problems are resolved.
An Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system is typically associated with high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, and mining, where employees face physical hazards daily. However, an OHS management system can be implemented in any workplace, regardless of industry or level of risk.
Other industries can also benefit from implementing an OHS management system as it helps to create a safer and healthier work environment.
An OHSMS can be used by many businesses such as:
1. Science Research
Research facilities must ensure that their personnel uses hazardous materials and equipment safely. An OHSMS provides guidelines for laboratory safety protocols, such as knowing when to wear protective gear and where to store hazardous materials. In addition, experiments, data collection, and analysis must be conducted safely.
2. Legal & Accounting Services
Accounting and legal services require computers for document processing, record-keeping, and communication. An OHSMS provides guidelines for ergonomic workstations, backup power supplies, and security protocols. It also includes best practices for preventing data loss and ensuring the confidentiality of client information.
3. Computer Services
Computer services involve storing and managing large amounts of data. Therefore, an OHSMS can provide guidelines for data security, proper storage, and system maintenance. It may also include protocols for safe computer use, such as not leaving computers unattended when logged in and using antivirus software.
4. Technical Services
Technical services involve architectural, engineering, and surveying processes. An OHSMS can provide guidelines for safe equipment use and provide safe gear, such as helmets and boots. It can also provide protocols for working in hazardous environments, such as construction sites.
5. Marketing & Business Management
Marketing and business management involve customer interaction, promotional campaigns, and advertising. An OHSMS can provide protocols for customer safety, such as proper food handling and hygiene procedures. It could also include guidelines for safe management practices, such as maintaining a healthy workplace.
Developing an Effective OHS Management System
Top management should be involved in developing an effective OHS management system. Everyone must be aware of their responsibilities and is actively engaged in creating a culture of safety. In addition, the OHSMS must be tailored to the specific business and its operations.
To help you get started, here are five critical steps to developing a compliant OHSMS:
- Establish safety objectives and targets: Organisations should set measurable goals for improving safety and health in the workplace.
- Develop OHS policy: Document the company's commitment to health and safety. The policy should clearly state the company's objectives, procedures, and commitment to complying with regulations.
- Identify hazards and assess risks: Organisations must identify potential risk areas, such as hazardous materials or equipment, and establish protocols to minimise their impact.
- Establish safe work procedures: Create safety protocols for lifting heavy objects or using hazardous materials.
- Monitor, review, and improve: Organisations must regularly monitor their OHS management system to ensure it is effective. They should also conduct periodic reviews to identify gaps or weaknesses and make improvements as necessary. Businesses should regularly review their OHSMS to ensure compliance with AS/NZS 45001:2018.
Here are also safety documents from SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture to guide you and ensure your system is compliant:
Business Services OHS Management System
This Business Services OHS/WHS Management System helps you create a system for businesses like science research, legal and accounting services, computer services, technical services, marketing, and business management. It also works for other companies like employment placement and security. The document is designed to help small and large organisations meet the requirements of AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018.
Construction OHS Management System
The Construction OHS Management System provides the framework for general construction operations and all trade services in residential and non-residential areas. It contains regulations, guidelines, and procedures needed for the prevention of workplace health risks as well as other areas such as safe working environment design, emergency preparedness, safety complaint resolution processes, and more.
Health & Community Services OHS Management System
The Health & Community Services OHS/WHS Management System provides businesses in the health and community assistance sphere with the necessary framework for effectively managing their operations. These services could include childcare, residential/non-residential care services, hospitals, nursing homes, dentistry, pathology practices, physiotherapy clinics, chiropractic offices, optometry and optical dispensing stores, medical general and specialist services, veterinary care providers, or ambulance companies.
Manufacturing OHS Management System
This Manufacturing OHS/WHS Management System offers an efficient way to create a safety system that keeps operations at commercial and industrial businesses running safely. From food and beverage establishments to textile manufacturers, this system can be tailored for enhanced risk assessment and allows for quick implementation of appropriate controls. Its elements include training programs, risk analysis, and proactive prevention procedures.
OHS Management System for Trades & Services
This OHS Management System for Trades & Services provides businesses offering general services, such as cleaners, gardeners, painters, plumbers, and carpenters, with a framework to optimise their health and safety protocols. It is designed with user-friendly tools that support businesses in creating an effective management system based on their services.
Personal Services OHS Management System
This Personal Services OHS/WHS Management System is tailored towards organisations operating within various fields, such as retail, public order/safety services, private households employing staff, and other industries like gardening, funeral directors, and religious organisations. This provides users with a comprehensive management system to ensure all safety regulations are adhered to and that any issues are addressed promptly.
Choose SafetyDocs For All Your Safety Documentation Needs
We understand the responsibility of managing safety and health risks in the workplace. SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture offers comprehensive, customisable safety documents and templates created by experienced professionals.
Our robust WHS Management Systems provide a comprehensive approach to ensure your business complies with all relevant regulations. With documentation explicitly tailored for businesses like yours, these management systems guide to help you to stay compliant and keep your workplace safe.
Don't wait any longer. Choose SafetyDocs today for all your safety documentation needs!
Available for instant download and supplied in fully editable MS Word format for use in your business.
Please note that the above information is provided as a comment only and should not be relied on as professional, legal or financial advice.
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