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OHSAS18001:2007 Occupational Health & Safety Management System Certification

About OHSAS Project Group

OHSAS stands for Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series.

The OHSAS Project Group is an international association of national standards bodies, certification / accreditation bodies, occupational health and safety institutes, industry associations, consulting organizations, and Government agencies.

The secretariat of the OHSAS Project Group is currently provided by the British Standards Institution (BSI).


OHSAS18001 standard

OHSAS18001:2007 is an international standard on Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, published by the OHSAS Project Group.

It spells out the requirements of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems that need to be complied with.

The other standard in the series, namely, OHSAS 18002:2008 provides guidelines for implementing OHSAS18001:2007.

The OHSAS 18001:2007 standard replaces its older version, namely, OHSAS 18001:1999.


Who can apply ?

Any legal entity having manufacturing / service operations can apply for OHSAS18001 certification. Manufacturers, Service Organizations, Trading Houses, Banks, Hospitals, Educational Institutions, Government Agencies, etc. are eligible for applying.


Benefits of OHSAS18001 certification

Some of the benefits of OHSAS18001 certification are:

  • Systems approach to Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management
  • Clarity in definition of OH&S related authorities and responsibilities
  • Reduction in accident rates, better emergency preparedness
  • Better documentation and traceability to root causes of OH&S problems
  • Reduction in the need for multiple assessments (by customers)
  • Use of recognized mark (of certifying agency) on letterheads etc., and
  • Enhanced corporate image and market positioning.


Steps involved in OHSAS18001 certification

The steps involved in any OHSAS18001 certification project are the following:

  • Gap Analysis: Detailed assessment of existing health hazards and safety management practices vis-a-vis OHSAS18001 requirements.
  • Initial Review and Planning: Review of findings of gap analysis by Senior Management, and planning for OHSAS 18001:2007 implementation.
  • System Documentation: Preparation of manuals, forms, campaign posters etc.
  • System Implementation: Implementation of the system as per manuals.
  • Company-wide Training: Training on OHSAS18001:2007 requirements & procedures, Emergency Evacuation and Fire Fighting, First Aid, and OH&S Internal Audit.
  • OH&S Internal Audits: Periodic audit of OH&S management system and corrective / preventive actions on audit findings.
  • Pre-assessment: Initial audit by Certifying agency, and, implementation of corrective actions on audit findings.
  • Final Assessment: Detailed assessment by the Certifying agency and recommendation for certification.


Major cost elements

There are three major cost elements in any OHSAS18001 project:

  1. Cost of procurement of safety devices and modifications to workplaces with high risk of health and safety hazards.
  2. Cost of training resources / fee to be paid to external consultants.
  3. Fee to be paid to the certifying agency.

The above costs depend on the size and complexity of operations of the applicant company.


Choosing a consultant

Before deciding on your OHSAS18001 consultant, consider the following:

Formal Qualifications: 

As in the case of medical / financial services, look for formal qualifications. At its minimum level, a graduate degree in Engineering (Industrial / Production / Plant / Mechanical / Chemical / Electrical) with additional degree/diploma in industrial safety could be acceptable. Apart from OHSAS18001 requirements, your consultant must also be aware of the local statutory and regulatory requirements (such as the Factories Act and Rules, Boilers Act, Fire Safety Rules, etc.). Consultants with engineering / science background are far more suitable than those with some other educational background.

Relevant Experience:

Your OHSAS18001 consultant should have the experience of handling atleast one or two OHSAS18001 projects independently or as the principal consultant. Avoid those with long experience in other fields and little exposure to OHSAS18001.

Professional Ethics:

Do not sign-up those OHSAS18001 consultants who claim to represent a particular certifying agency and/or offer package deals. Also, do not go with those document forgery experts who assure you the OHSAS18001 certification within ridiculously short time span (say, fifteen days). When you expose your personnel to such unethical people during project implementation, it would cause irrepairable damage to your organizational culture.

Please keep in mind that any organisation (big or small) with genuine commitment to safety of its personnel at their workplace can achieve OHSAS18001 certification.

Willingness to help in documentation:

Your OHSAS18001 consultant should prepare first draft of at least the OH&S Policy Manual, OH&S System Procedures, and Standard Forms for OHSMS record keeping. This would help in quick implementation of the system.

Support till certification:

Get firm commitment from your consultant that he shall provide support till your company gets certified.


Choosing a certifying agency

This job is also very important. Usually, your OHSAS18001 consultant suggests some reputed names. But, do not forget to ask your friends in the industry and verify the credibility of the certifying agency. As OHSAS18001 is more relevant in contractual situations, your customer can be well aware of the standard of certifying agencies. Although there are hundreds of OHSAS18001 certifying agencies worldwide, only a few have good reputation !

Also, you must insist on signing the service agreement between the Certifying Agency and the Organization applying for certification and pay the audit fees directly to the Certifying Agency. Reputed certifying agencies do not sign-up or bill via a third party like a consulting / accounting / manpower placement agency.

Another point is regarding recognition of certification. In case your buyers are from a different country, it is better to select an auditing agency well recognized in the buyers' country.

Cost is yet another factor. Due to stiff competition, certification fee has come down a lot. However, there can be hidden costs like cost of flying down an auditor from a remote location. In that case, hidden cost can be more than certification fees. So, always go for a credible agency with sufficient number of auditors stationed locally.

BV, DNV, SGS, TUV, and UL are some of the reputed OHSAS18001 certifying bodies operating globally.


Useful OHSAS18001 resources

The following products and services could be helpful in understanding the requirements, developing the system documents, implementing the system, and getting the coveted OHSAS18001:2007 certification:

  1. OHSAS18001:2007 Awareness Training Kit (Product Codes: M0010A / M0010B)
  2. OHSAS18001:2007 Implementation Kit (Product Codes: M0054A / M0054B)
  3. Management System Audit Training Kit (Product Codes: M0005A / M0005B)
  4. Project eConsulting Service for OHSAS18001:2007 Certification (Service Codes: C0025 / C0026)

Please visit our eShop to know more about these resources and to purchase them right away.

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