Home' Work Health and Safety : Issue 1 Contents 17
► a local understanding of WHS management and WHS “know-how”;
► arrangements to address WHS for contractors and other non-employment
► the organisation learns from past experience;
► WHS management policy, procedures and action taken are documented,
complexity of documentation is minimised, and understanding and
ownership of principles by those implementing is maximised;
► WHS management is monitored using positive performance indicators;
► WHS management is integrated into the organisation’s other management
Although the model WHS Act makes little reference to systematic WHS
management, the primary and specific duties require a person to ensure
health and safety by eliminating and minimising risks to health and safety so
far as is reasonably practicable - and this requires a systemised approach.
Organisations can be guided by AS/NZS 4801:2001, the Occupational
Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) Standard (Standard),
used as the benchmark to assess OHSMS for organisations in Australia
and New Zealand.13 The Standard is a voluntary and useful tool however
compliance with it does not guarantee compliance with legal obligations
under the WHS legal framework. Whilst this Standard is not enforceable
in itself, it may be incorporated into contracts. Certain organisations must
be certified to the Standard as a prerequisite to entering building contracts
funded by the Australian Government under the Australian Government
Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme.
The Standard requires organisations to establish and maintain an effective
OHSMS. This is achieved through five main steps:14
Creating an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policy
Organisations are required to create a OHS policy which clearly sets
out OHS objectives. This must be authorised by the organisation’s top
Organisations must establish, implement and maintain documented
procedures for hazard identification, risk assessment and control of hazards.
They must also maintain procedures to identify and access information
about legal requirements under applicable WHS laws, and this should be
communicated to staff. OHS objectives and targets should be established in
accordance with identified risks and legal requirements. Management plans
should be created which designate responsibility, and outline means and
timeframes for achieving the objectives and targets.
Management must identify and provide the necessary human resources,
specialised skills, technology and financial resources required to implement
the OHSMS. They must define, document and communicate areas of
accountability and responsibility of all personnel involved in the OHSMS’s
operation. Employees should be consulted to identify training needs
and develop training procedures on OHS functions. There should be
documented procedures for employee involvement and consultation in OHS
issues, communication of pertinent OHS information, timely reporting of
incidents for OHS monitoring and maintenance of relevant data and records.
There should also be a documented procedure for identifying, assessing
and controlling risks as well as a process for evaluation of those steps.
All potential emergency situations should be identified and procedures
documented for preventing and mitigating the associated risks.
Measurement and Evaluation
Documented procedures should be developed to regularly monitor and
measure the key characteristics of the organisation that can cause illness or
injury, as well as the health of employees who may be exposed to specific
hazards. Organisations should implement procedures for investigating and
recording OHS incidents and for appropriate corrective and preventative
action to be taken in response to such incidents. An audit program should
be created for evaluating the effect of the OHSMS. The results of these
audits should be provided to management and employees.
Management should periodically review the OHSMS to ensure its continuing
suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. These reviews must be documented
and take into consideration relevant audit results, changing circumstances
and the commitment to continuing improvement.
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