February, 2016

Almost every day the news report cases of accidents at work, very often fatal. These implicate ethical issues related to occupational safety and protection of life, that should be a priority in every Country, and costs for the society and for the companies.

In particular, the industrial, petrochemical, construction and manufacturing sectors are, by their nature, those in which are recorded the highest percentage of accidents. To reduce the risks, companies of all sizes and in all sectors must implement management systems which ensure the health and safety of work places.

Few years ago has been defined worldwide the OHSAS 18001 standard, suitable for all organizations wishing to establish formal procedures to manage the health and the safety threats in the company, implementing a control system and, above all, a continuous improvement, to ensure and increase the safety and health of workers.

1. The advantages of OHSAS 18001 standard

OHSAS 18001 standard provides a systemic approach to the management of occupational safety and health protection.

The rule was issued for the first time as British Standard in 1999, but with the 2007 edition took the characteristics to became an international standard.

The standard defines the occupational health and safety management system as the part of the management system of an organization used to develop and implement its policy and the management of risks related to health and safety at work.

Of course, like all the management systems, it also includes the organizational structure, the planning activities, such as risk assessment and the definition of objectives, responsibilities, resource management, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and controls.

Its application depends on the organization's policy, the nature of its activities and its risks, and the complexity of its operations. It’s still applicable to any organization.

2. Application of a management system according to OHSAS 18001

During the implementation of a safety management system in the workplace, may be defined formal procedures to which the entire organization is required to conform. Through the application of these procedures it’s possible to:

  • Identify the risks and start controls for their proper management
  • Make the best working conditions in the organization
  • Reduce accidents and diseases at work resulting in decreased costs and inactivity of employees
  • Involve and motivate staff through better and safer working conditions 
  • Demonstrate to customers and supplier’s compliance with international standards.

The identification of legal requirements applicable to the company and the evaluation of risks in the workplace provide information about the company's activities that require regulation.

The prevention and protection service, already present in companies, must work closely with the head of business management systems, to define the necessary control system and to prepare appropriate procedures or operating instructions, along with the necessary documentation such as specifications or recordings.

Procedures and operating instructions should be prepared involving the company managers and the representative of the workers' safety.

OHSAS 18001 standard underlines that the monitoring is a key phase of the system because it allows every employee, before any other, to control their own job, finding any faults in safety with respect to the process standards. 

Like any operating system, also in this case the involvement of the staff and its training on, are the main pillars of the system functioning and a guarantee of success. Without the involvement of the staff and the understanding of the risks, no procedure will ever guarantee the elimination or, at least, the mitigating of the process risks.

3. Risk management and Business Continuity

The risk is often considered as a negative factor but, if managed well, with the help of the OHSAS 18001 standard, you can benefit from safer working conditions, better performance and new business opportunities.

It’s now interesting to introduce the concepts of risk management and business continuity.

Every company that operates on the market, must demonstrate to customers its ability to manage risks in order to ensure continuity of work, even in case of extraordinary events.

Customers, especially in large organizations, more and more often choose those suppliers that will provide greater assurance of supply continuity, both of products and services.

The implementation of management systems helps to ensure both to the company and to the outside world, that all processes are constantly under control and structured so as to prevent disruption of service, even in case of extraordinary events.

The OHSAS 18001 is part of this line of thought: the work accidents and the loss of valuable human resources are the greatest risks of interruption of an organization activity. The implementation of the OHSA 18001 allows to limit this risk.

4. Cortem Group has certified its management system according to OHSAS 18001 standard 

Cortem Group adopted the principle of the business continuity. For years, all the Group companies have been engaging in the implementation of an integrated management system that respects the principles of Quality, Environmental Protection and Safety in the workplace in order to ensure the business continuity.

In the last months of 2015, therefore, Cortem Group decided to certify the management system, which for some years was implemented according to OHSAS 18001:2007. Greater protection for our employees and a guarantee of continuity for our customers.