BS OHSAS 18001 is the internationally-recognised standard for occupational health and safety management systems and allows firms to operate inside a flexible framework in order to continuously identify and manage risks that they face.
The system is compatible with other recognised standards including the ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Standard) and ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) which can allow health and safety management systems to be integrated into existing management systems.
Ms Toll said that while developing systems in line with the BS OHSAS 18001 standard is positive, a further step to really show employees and customers that risks are minimised as much as possible is to obtain the accreditation, rather than just following its guidelines.
Some large organisations will only work with suppliers who have the appropriate accreditation and as such, it could become a business necessity to secure it. Not only will health and safety risks be minimised but so will the associated expense of incidents, which could include reduced productivity and large fines and costs.
This is especially important during the recession, Ms Toll stated.
"Every sale and contact is important at the moment because of the economic downturn and if a supplier cannot demonstrate an adequate health and safety record the engaging company could move their business elsewhere," she explained.
Ms Toll said: "Achieving the BS standard shows that you are committed to health and safety and it gives your customers a degree of confidence in your ability to manage risk, which can give you a competitive advantage."
Incidents cause interruptions to operations, which can prove expensive. Suppliers and other organisations may therefore be particularly keen to deal with organisations which have obtained the standard as this can reassure them that the partnership will run as smoothly as possible, with good health and safety practices bolstering this.
ARMS notes that because procedures are streamlined under the standard, there will be improved safety culture and staff morale.
ARMS consultancy can help firms achieve BS OHSAS 18001 standard
ARMS has trained lead auditors who can help companies develop their management systems in line with the standard, as well as providing tailored proposals to map out progress. Toll said that ARMS can help by acting as “a fresh pair of eyes to objectively assess against the standard.”
The ARMS pre-certification gap analysis includes an explanation of BS OHSAS 18001 standard and its application, comparing existing management systems to the specified standard. Areas where change is needed can then be highlighted in order to achieve compliance.
An action plan can then be drawn up by the auditor, who will remain in contact and provide ongoing guidance and support as a company works through their plan. When the plan is completed, a management system can be audited by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
ARMS auditors can help organisations arrange the certification with the BSI, as well as explaining the process of the audit day. Once certification is secured, ARMS auditors will offer periodic compliance audits in between certification renewals to ensure systems remain compliant with the standard.
Further information from ARMS
As well as the gap analysis, ARMS offers an in-company Safety Auditing Course which provides firms with the techniques and skills required for effective safety auditing. Using the ARMS auditing tool can allow employers to systematically examine their organisation's health and safety systems and performance.
Further information about the BS OHSAS 18001 standard, gap analysis and the Safety Auditing Course can be found by contacting ARMS on 0500 55 99 77.