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«Part 2 OHS management systems 2.1 Occupational health and safety management systems Introduction “Every organisation will find that it has elements ...»

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OHS Reference Guide Australian Meat Industry

Part 2 OHS management systems

2.1 Occupational health and safety management



“Every organisation will find that it has elements of an OHSMS in place. What is less common in

the linking of these elements into a coordinated overall system to improve the OHS performance.”

AS/NZS 4804: Occupational health & safety management systems - General guidelines on

principles, systems and supporting techniques, 2001, p 8.

To ensure that important occupational health and safety issues are not overlooked, employers need to adopt a systematic approach to managing health and safety. The starting point in establishing a management system that is effective in solving health and safety problems is for health and safety to be an integral part of the management function. No matter how systems are developed, to be effective, there are some general elements that are required.

The following material is generally based on AS/NZS 4804: Occupational health & safety management systems - General guidelines on principles, systems and supporting techniques. In

AS/NZS 4804 there are five elements of an OHS management system (OHSMS):

• management commitment and policy

• planning

• implementation

• measurement and evaluation

• review and improvement.

For additional information on key features on OHS management systems, refer to the MLA OHSMS Benchmarking Process document (on this disc) Management commitment and policy Management commitment is essential for the success of a health and safety management

program. In practical terms this means that top management within the organisation:

• Determines the current status of OHS management within the organisation

• Commits sufficient resources, both financial and human, to maintain or improve the OHS program

• Determines responsibilities, authorities, and most importantly systems of accountability

• Coordinates planning and follow through

• Assesses performance and makes changes where/if necessary Page 20 of 264 OHS Reference Guide Australian Meat Industry

• Demonstrates own commitment to health and safety through own actions and the consistent application of policies and procedures.

Understanding the current status of OHS management within the organisation, and acting to improve is an on-going management responsibility. Information for the review/analysis can be gathered by interviews, checklists, inspections, audits, records reviews, or comparisons with similar organisations (ie benchmarking – refer to MLA OHSMS Benchmarking Process document).

Data can also be sourced from accident, incident and first-aid records, workers compensation data, or other data that the organisation holds eg, absenteeism, sick leave or industrial disputation.

Policy A visible statement of management commitment is a health and safety policy statement that is endorsed by both management and workers and distributed throughout the organisation. The

policy should:

• express a commitment to occupational health and safety management

• recognise the requirement for legislative compliance with the applicable State or Territory, including the duty of care

• adopt a preventative approach

• outline the responsibilities and accountabilities of all managers and workers (see below)

• outline the consultative mechanisms within the organisation

• outline the organisation’s duty of care to all workers including labour hire, contractors

• and sub contractors, volunteers and visitors

• recognise the hazard management approach ie, hazard identification, risk assessment

• and control.

Supporting policies and procedures should outline clearly the practicalities of task requirements linked with safe operating procedures.

Accountability and responsibility It is important that there are clearly defined occupational health and safety roles and responsibilities. The following outlines a comprehensive set of roles and responsibilities for consideration both when implementing your occupational health and safety management system and for inclusion in your health and safety policy.

Top management Top management has the overall responsibility to provide a healthy and safe workplace for workers and to ensure that adequate resources are provided to meet the organisation’s health and safety objectives and implementation strategies (refer to earlier section).


Managers have a responsibility in their areas of control to ensure that:

• they carry out their roles and responsibilities as detailed in the relevant health and safety policies and procedures

• they effectively implement relevant health and safety policies and procedures

Page 21 of 264 OHS Reference Guide Australian Meat Industry

• all risks to health and safety are identified, assessed and effectively controlled in consultation with workers and their representatives

• the effectiveness of risk control measures are regularly monitored and deviations from standards are rectified

• supervisors and workers have adequate knowledge and skills to carry out their health and safety responsibilities

• workers and their representatives are consulted on any proposals for, or changes to, the workplace, work practices, policies or procedures which may affect the health and safety of workers.


Supervisors or workers with supervisory responsibilities have a responsibility to ensure:

• they carry out their roles and responsibilities as detailed in the relevant health and safety policies and procedures

• relevant health and safety policies and procedures are implemented in their areas of control

• all risk control measures in their areas of responsibility are implemented, regularly monitored and maintained

• the workers under their control are provided with the necessary information, instruction and training to effectively and safely carry out their jobs.


Workers have a responsibility to:

• take care to protect their own health and safety and to avoid adversely affecting the health and safety of any other worker.

• report any incident or hazard at work to their manager or supervisor

• carry out their roles and responsibilities as detailed in the relevant health and safety policies and procedures

• obey any reasonable instruction aimed at protecting their health and safety while at work

• use any equipment provided to protect their health and safety while at work

• assist in the identification of hazards, the assessment of risks and the implementation of risk control measures

• consider and provide feedback on any matter which may affect their health and safety.

Planning The first step in having a functioning OHS management system is the planning process. Planning is required to develop and establish a system, maintain the system and continuously improve the system. The initial planning should include OHS objectives, strategies and action plans/activities to be used to achieve the objectives. Strategies should suit the organisation and hence be site specific.

The planning activity may range from a simple process of internal review and a planning exercise to a detailed strategic planning exercise following an external audit. The elements of a plan may

–  –  –

be developed over a specified period suitable to the available resources of the company.

However the planning process should have a logical sequence.

Planning should consider factors likely to affect the achievement of OHS objectives, including the internal environment and culture of the organisation and external factors, such as the OHS laws, industry standards and codes of practice. The companies overall approach to the evaluation of OHS performance and the way the system is to be continuously improved should be determined.

The steps, detailed below, can be used whether the planning process is simple or complex. They


• Review the current occupational health and safety status including the ‘management system’ (or lack of one)

• Determine the overall objectives for managing OHS. For example o ensure health and safety of employees, contractors and visitors o comply with legislation

• Link the organisational objectives to the OHS objectives

• Determine the specific objectives for the OHSMS. For example o reduction of the level of risk o prevention of injury and illness o effectively managing incidents that do occur o returning injured or ill employees to meaningful work

• Detail strategies (programs) and activities to achieve the specific objectives. The programs should include o hazard management o incident management o emergency preparedness o injury management

• Set targets (key performance indicators) for each of the strategies / programs

• Identify responsibilities

• Set timeframes.

To plan effectively information about the company, the industry, and the legislation is required.

This includes:

• Applicable legislation, codes of practice and industry standards (refer to the relevant legislative bodies in the preface, or Parts 3 and 4 for some more detailed requirements)

• Any state or territory OHSMS models that link health and safety to incentive or discount schemes with workers compensation insurance

• Information on OHS specific to the industry – refer to information on this DVD for the meat industry

• Risk management information and methods for managing risks

• Method of measuring OHS performance

• Objective status of the health and safety in the company. What exists, what requires revision, what are the gaps.

–  –  –

The planning process should result in a comprehensive documented plan detailing the programs and activities required to achieve the overall and specific objectives, the performance targets required, the responsibilities and timeframes.


Implementation covers a wide range of issues including:

• allocation of resources

• integrating of OHS into other management systems that may operate within the organisation including planning, design/purchasing/maintenance

• coordination of all parts of the OHS system

• designation of responsibilities to activate/implement the OHS plan, programs and procedures to achieve the policy objectives (also refer to general responsibilities in previous section)

• systems to ensure accountability

• consultation (as below - including issues relating to training and workplace diversity)

• training and competency levels

• support action that must be taken (including communication, reporting and documentation)

• records and information management (including the recording of hazard identification, risk assessment and control)

• hazard management (refer to Part 3 of this Guide)

• contingency preparedness and response (emergency or disaster plans or critical incident recovery plans).

Unless all these administration activities are in place the system will not function optimally. These requirements are necessary for the implementation, the ongoing maintenance and the evaluation of the programs, procedures and outcomes.

Implementation strategies The implementation strategies and activities required will depend on the status of OHS in the company and the management system that is put in place. The strategies should ensure that the system focuses on prevention particularly the implementation of the process to identify hazards, assess the risks and implement controls. Consultative mechanisms have to be put in place, initial training requirements have to be identified, developed and conducted, and the system documentation developed. It is very important the initial implementation activities be realistic and within the capabilities of the company. The system can be added to in stages. This is preferable to overloading everyone initially as this will generate negative attitudes to the process.

Consultation Consultation involves employers sharing information and exchanging views with representatives of any bodies that must be consulted with, with the genuine opportunity for them to contribute effectively to any decision-making process to eliminate or control risks to health and safety.

Consultation between employers and workers is a fundamental element to a positive approach to health, safety and welfare and the workplace. Through consultation, managers and supervisors

–  –  –

can become more aware of the hazards and OHS issues experienced by workers. Workers can also provide suggestions about how to solve health and safety problems.

Consultation should take place between employers and workers, and/or their elected representatives, including health and safety representatives, Likewise workers should make the health and safety representative aware of health and safety problems identified.

Health and safety committees may also be established to allow joint consultation between management and worker representatives. The main roles of OHS committees are to consider policy issues and try to find a solution to unresolved issues.

It is necessary for employers to consult in the following situations:

• when identifying hazards

• assessing risks

• deciding on measures to control risks

• implementing controls

• reviewing the effectiveness of controls

• reviewing or developing policies

• investigating incidents

• changing work practices and procedures

• introducing new substances to the workplace

• planning of new work or work processes.

Consultation with workers should take place in the initial stages of these processes, to take their experience and expertise into account.

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