AS 4801 OHS Management System Guidance


What is an OHS Management System?

An OHS Management System (Occupation Health and Safety) means planning and setting up processes to manage health and safety in your workplace.

When an OHS Management System has been set up, you will be:

  1. regularly checking to identify hazards (aspects of the workplace with the potential to cause harm), e.g. manual handling, machinery, exposure to chemicals or noise.
  2. controlling the hazards by involving the employees who are at risk, changing the workplace layout or systems of work, and following WorkSafe guidelines.
  3. conducting risk assessments for changes or new systems of working.
  4. inducting new employees into their health and safety requirements.
  5. training and supervising employees performing potentially hazardous work.
  6. including health and safety issues as agenda items in regular meetings.
  7. considering health and safety requirements when purchasing machinery, equipment and tools.

AS 4801 OHS management system consultants- hand word cloud

Get a current assessment score for your workplace by completing this Occupational Health & Safety Management System Quiz.
(Source: WorkSafe Victoria website.)

Also, here is a link is to a useful visual snapshot of how well you are doing. This is good for keeping on the wall:
(Source: Department of Justice and Attorney-General website.)

Are there any low cost options for AS 4801 OHS Management Systems?

For a small business, setting up a full AS 4801 OHS Management System can be a time consuming and an expensive task.

If your customer requires this, you may not have a choice. But in a lot of cases, you can implement a Safety Management Program that meets the legal requirements of the Act and other legislation for a low cost and still keep your customers happy.

Give us a call on 1300 132 745 and we can point you in the right direction.

What are the benefits of an Occupational Health & Safety Management System?

An Occupational Health and Safety Management System can benefit any organisation no matter how small or large by:

  • helping organisations create safer work environments.
  • reducing injuries and injury-related costs by pre-empting injuries, employers save money on medical expenses, the injured employee’s wages, insurance claim excesses, replacement labour and increased workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
  • improving business opportunities. Many companies have preferential purchasing policies that favour purchasing products or services from companies with an OHS Management System.
  • providing measurable systems that can verify OHS performance.
  • demonstrating that the organisation is meeting legal requirements.
  • enhancing the organisation’s reputation.

Research shows that there are clear links between good Occupational Health and Safety Management System and long-term business efficiency.
(Source: Worksafe Victoria)

Features Of An Effective OHS Management System

Whether your organisation is large or small, complex or basic, your Occupational Health and Safety Management System should:

  • have top management commitment to managing OHS risk. Top management must demonstrate OHS leadership and promote the involvement of staff in the development and implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System;
  • be supported by the organisation’s overall management system. The organisation must provide corporate commitment and sufficient resources;
  • make the OHSMS’s structures and processes visible to employees and relevant to all business activities all the time; and
  • ensure that Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems are regularly updated because OHS risks can increase at busy times, or when changes are occurring, eg: during restructures, changes of products and services, changes of suppliers.

The Occupational Health and Safety Management System needs to adjust to, and be appropriate for all circumstances
(Source: Worksafe Victoria)

The 5 steps of an effective Occupational Health & Safety Management System

There are five steps to an effective Occupational Health and Safety Management System, and these steps form a continual cycle of improvement as shown in the image. Consultation is a key element of each step.

  1. Top Management Commitment and Policy
    The policy is a general plan of intent that guides or influences future decisions. It is the basis upon which measurable objectives and targets and the Occupational Health and Safety Management System is developed.
  2. Planning
    Plan how to deliver the OHS policy, objectives and targets to ensure hazards arising from work activities are identified so that risks can be assessed and then controlled.
  3. Implementation
    Implement the plan by developing the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve the OHS policy, objectives and targets.
  4. Measurement and Evaluation
    Measure, monitor and evaluate OHS performance, to determine the effectiveness of risk management, and if necessary take preventative and corrective action.
  5. Review and Improvement
    Review and continually improve the Occupational Health and Safety Management System, with the objective of improving OHS performance.
    (Source: Worksafe Victoria)

Our OHS Consultants in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane can help you develop an Occupational Health and Safety Management System. For a free no obligation chat to an OHS consultant, call us on 1300 132 745 or click here to contact us.

I need a Certified OHS Management System for a tender or customer requirement

My tender is asking for a certified Occupational Health and Safety Management System. What does this mean? How do I get one?

For your business to acquire a certified OHS/WHS Management System, you are required to have it externally audited against a particular standard, i.e. AS 4801 by a certification body. With this certification, you will be able to promote your system’s credentials to any tenders or customer contracts you encounter.

Firstly, you will need to create the safety management system in accordance with the requirements of the AS 4801 standard. You can do this yourself, or you can get assistance from a health and safety consultant such as what we provide at ICS.

Then you need to get the system audited. There are over 35 certification bodies in Australia. Each certification body has different areas of specialisation. ICS is able to assist you in deciding which is appropriate for you.

Do I need a health and safety consultant to help me or can I set it up myself?

It is entirely possible to create your own OHS/WHS Management System. However, we recommend for small businesses that you analyse the costs and time effectiveness of creating this system as it is a big task.

If you decided you don’t have the time, an  OHS consultant can set up an Occupational Health and Safety Management System suitable for compliance to AS 4801 in the space of 3-4 months.

If you do decide to go ahead and DIY, allow at least double that time to set up the health and safety management system. You may also consider the benefit from getting a gap assessment and action plan done by a consultant at the start to provide you with direction on how to get started. Many businesses get stuck when sifting through all the data and they are not sure what is required and what isn’t.

We have OHS consultants in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane who can get started on your project within 1-2 weeks. If you need help or just some free advice, give us a call on 1300 132 745.

What’s the difference between OHS and WHS?

OHS or Occupational Health and Safety is simply a generic term which has been used to describe standards and legislation relating to workplace and employee health and safety matters.

The term OHS has been replaced by WHS (Work Health and Safety) in reference to the new National harmonisation Laws.

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