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Occupational health & safety management systems

An occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) encompasses more than just your health and safety program. It includes health and safety policies, systems, standards, and records, and involves incorporating your health and safety activities and program into your other business processes. Having an effective management system improves your ability to continuously identify hazards and control risks in your workplace.

Consult with your certifying partner on how your health and safety program can be a part of your health and safety management system.

Components of an effective OHS management system

These following elements are components of an effective OHS management system. The scope and complexity of the system may vary, depending on the size and hazards of your workplace and the nature of the work performed.

Management leadership and commitment

Leadership and commitment by senior management (the CEO or most senior management) provides the vision, establishes policy, sets goals, and provides resources to lead and support the implementation of your OHS management programs and system.

Safe work procedures and written instructions

Safe work procedures and practices ensure that everyone in the organization knows their responsibilities and can perform their duties effectively. There should be safe work procedures on an organizational level, such as how to conduct a risk assessment, as well as on a worker level, such as how to lock out properly.

Health and safety training and instruction

Everyone in the workplace ─ from senior management to frontline workers ─ needs to understand their responsibilities when it comes to implementing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace. Senior management should understand their role in establishing policies and continually driving the OHS management system and programs. Employers must ensure that workers are trained, qualified, and competent to perform their tasks. Supervisors must provide adequate instruction and oversight to workers so they can safely perform their work. And workers need to work safely, according to how they were trained.

Identifying hazards and managing risk

Managing the risk in your workplace includes identifying hazards, assessing the risks those hazards present, and controlling the risks to prevent your workers from getting injured.

Inspection of premises, equipment, workplaces & work practices

Workplace inspections can help you to continually identify hazards and prevent unsafe working conditions from developing.

Investigation of incidents

Conducting incident investigations helps identify immediate, and root causes of unsafe conditions. It also identifies ways to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation has specific requirements for incident investigation documentation and reporting that employers are required to meet.

Program administration

Regularly assessing how well your organization is doing when it comes to meeting its health and safety goals is essential to improving your OHS management system. Maintaining accurate records of your OHS management system activities will provide useful information to help you continually improve.

Joint health and safety committee & representatives

Joint health and safety committees and health and safety representatives assist the organization by bringing together employers and workers to jointly identify and resolve health and safety issues in your workplace. They also participate in developing and implementing your OHS management system.

Occupational health and safety programs

Occupational health and safety programs are an essential part of your OHS management system.

System audit

The COR auditor reviews key aspects of your OHS management system to ensure that its quality and effectiveness meet the expectations of the COR program standards and guidelines. This helps maintain the credibility and value of COR certifications.