Sep 30, 2017

Communication requirements in OHSAS 18001

OHSAS 18001 systems that are well constructed can benefit a company and the stakeholders, and this will lead to improved performance and reputation of your business. When we look at training and awareness in your Health & Safety System, communication is equally important to ensure overall performance. Even if your OHSAS system is designed well with outputs and inputs that have been defined correctly if you don’t have a and well-designed and effective communication channel given the changes in local issues and legislation you are likely to face, your OHSAS will clearly not be as effective as what it could be.

What does OHSAS specify?

Communication, participation, and consultation are dealt with in OHSAS 18001. The standard requires that any organization must design and use procedures to communicate both externally and internally and that documents from stakeholders must be processed correctly. The standard advocates that top management should be responsible for ensuring that the Health & Safety system performs as expected. By the same token, it makes sense that one person is responsible for communication to avoid doubt, albeit it with assistance from members of the Health and Safety team.

How can this be achieved?

There are a number of ways we can make sure that any communication reaches the people it’s intended for.

  • Email communication: Build a list of all external and internal and stakeholders to make sure that everyone receives regular updates.
  • Notice boards: It is always good to make sure that you display any news or changes and legislative documents on a notice board, whether physical or electronic. You can use this to show to new employees and contractors while they tour of the facilities. This could also be used to display important performance metrics.
  • Regular communications sessions and on-site meetings: Hold weekly or monthly update sessions where your team can learn about new processes, changes to legislation, or other important information.
  • Employee forums: Encourage employees to join a forum where ideas and information is exchanged, and the team receives new information.
  • Establish a process for receiving, storing, and versioning external documentation required for your OHSAS system. Communication is important, but you need to ensure that you communicate the correct information and version.
  • Signing documents and changes in legislation electronically. This option is good to make sure that staff actually receive the documents, and also sign these electronically so you are able to update the relevant training records. This technology is available online at a low cost.
  • Ensure that all items mentioned are documented and recorded. Proving effective communication is a requirement of the OHSAS 18001 standard.

If you work towards accomplishing this with the OHSAS, your results will be positive and you will easily meet the Health & Safety objectives. There is however also a downside if you don’t achieve good communication.

The downside of bad communication

As mentioned previously, the benefit of good communication is that it gives you the best chance of reaching your Health and Safety objectives. Ineffective communication will have serious implications. If employees and contractors don’t fully understand internal processes, first aid kit locations, fire muster points, fire extinguishers and any legislation changes, the implications could be disastrous. Internal audits and risk assessment will not be effective if the results are not communicated within the organization. The root cause of many accidents in the workplace is lack of knowledge resulting from ineffective communication. Irrespective of how good your processes are, they will not work effectively if they are not communicated to stakeholders properly.

ISO 9001 quality management systems (QMS) are implemented using MyEasyISO software in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), while ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Health Safety Management Systems (HSE) are implemented with MyEasyISO in Marrakesh (Morocco).

Sree Vidhya

CRM Specialist At Effivity
Sree has over 7+ years of experience. She excels in building strong client relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction. Sree's expertise and dedication help drive Effivity's commitment to exceptional customer service.

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