PLAIN ENGLISH OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
A risk is acceptable if it has been
reduced to a level that your
organization can tolerate given its
occupational health and
safety (OH&S) policy and its legal
An audit is an evidence gathering
process. Audit evidence is used
to evaluate how well audit criteria
are being met. Audits must be
both objective and independent and the
audit process must be
both systematic and documented.
Continual improvement is a recurring process that
an organizationís OH&S management system and improves
its overall OH&S
performance. Continual improvements must
be consistent with the organizationís
OH&S policy and can
be achieved by carrying out
internal audits, performing
management reviews, analyzing data, and implementing
corrective and preventive
Corrective actions are steps that are taken to remove
cause or causes of an existing nonconformity or other
Corrective actions address actual
problems. In general, the corrective action
be thought of as a problem solving process.
When information is placed on a
medium it becomes a document.
In this context, the term
medium usually refers to
paper. But it
can also refer to
electronic, magnetic, or optical disks. A set of
documents is often referred to
NOTE: Neither OHSAS
18001 nor OHSAS 18002 expects you to
write an OH&S Manual (per
OHSAS 18001 and 18002 section 4.4.4).
A hazard is any situation,
substance, activity, event, or
environment that could potentially cause injury
or ill health.
ē Hazardous situations
can cause injury or ill health.
Examples of potentially hazardous situations
slippery or uneven walking surfaces, cramped working
ventilated areas, high altitudes, noisy
locations, poorly lit areas, and
ē Hazardous substances can cause injury or ill health.
potentially hazardous substances include
corrosive and toxic chemicals,
flammable and explosive
poisons, bacteria, and viruses.
ē Hazardous activities can cause injury or ill health. Examples
of potentially hazardous activities include dangerous tasks,
movements and postures, heavy lifting, repetitive
conflicts, bullying, and intimidation.
ē Hazardous events can cause injury or ill health. Examples
vibrations, fires, leaks, releases,
electric shocks, falling objects,
loud noises, structural breakdowns, software
equipment malfunctions, and unscheduled shutdowns.
Hazard identification is a process that involves
an OH&S hazard exists and then describing its characteristics.
Ill health is an adverse physical or mental condition. In order to
qualify as an occupational health and safety problem, an adverse
mental condition must be identifiable and be caused
or aggravated by a work
activity or a work related situation.
An incident is a work
related event during which:
injury, ill health, or fatality actually occurs,
injury, ill health, or
fatality could have occurred.
An accident is a type of incident. It is a
during which injury, ill health, or fatality actually
It is a type of incident (see 1, above).
A close call, near miss, near hit, or dangerous
is also a type of incident. It is a work-related event during
which injury, ill health, or fatality could have occurred,
but didnít actually occur (see 2, above).
An interested party is a person or group that has a
stake in the
OH&S performance of an organization. Interested parties may
be directly affected by the organizationís OH&S performance
concerned about it. They come from both inside
and outside of the workplace.
Nonconformity is the non fulfillment of a requirement
or a deviation
from a standard. When an organization fails to meet requirements
deviates from a standard, a nonconformity exists. Accordingly, any
deviation from the OHSAS 18001 standard is a nonconformity.
When OHSAS 18001 uses the term
occupational health and
safety, it refers to all of the factors and
affect health and safety in the workplace, or
could affect health and
safety in the workplace.
Occupational health and safety (OH&S) factors
(permanent and temporary), contractors, visitors, and anyone
else who is in the workplace.
An occupational health and safety management system
is used to establish an OH&S policy and to manage OH&S risks. An
organizationís OHSMS is one part of a larger management system.
A management system, including an OHSMS, is a
interrelated elements. These
elements include responsibilities,
authorities, relationships, functions,
activities, processes, practices,
procedures, and resources.
A management system uses these
establish policies, plans, programs, and
and to develop ways of implementing these policies, plans, and
programs, and achieving these objectives.
objectives are OH&S performance goals that organizations
set for themselves
and wish to achieve. Your organizationís OH&S
objectives should be both
measurable and consistent with its
OH&S performance is all about
results. Itís all about how well
manage their OH&S risks and the results they actually
achieve. In order to be
able to determine how well OH&S risks are
being managed, OH&S performance
must be measurable. You can
measure your organizationís OH&S performance by
effectiveness of your controls and by comparing your OH&S results
and achievements against your OH&S policy, objectives, or any
OH&S performance requirements.
An organizationís OH&S
policy statement expresses a commitment
to the implementation and ongoing
maintenance of its OHSMS and
the improvement of its overall OH&S performance.
Your OH&S policy
should emphasize the need to
injury and ill health, comply
with all legal and nonlegal requirements,
and be appropriate to the
scale of the OH&S risks that your
deal with. In general, an OH&S policy should be used to
implementation and maintenance of the OHSMS, to develop
OH&S objectives, and to encourage action.
An organization is a company, corporation, enterprise,
institution, or authority. Organizations can be either incorporated
unincorporated, and can be either privately or publicly owned. It can
a single operating unit or part of a larger entity. However, an
or part of a larger entity must have its own functions
and administration in
order to count as an organization.
Preventive actions are steps that are taken to remove
the causes of
potential nonconformities or other undesirable situations
not yet occurred. Preventive actions address potential
In general, the preventive action process can be thought of as a
risk analysis process.
procedure is a specified way of
carrying out an activity
or a process. Procedures may or may not be documented.
A documented procedure describes
and controls a
process or activity,
including the associated inputs and outputs.
Documented procedures can be very
general or very detailed, or
anywhere in between. While a general procedure
could take the
form of a simple flow diagram, a detailed procedure could
a one page form or it could be several pages of text.
A detailed documented procedure defines and
controls the work that
should be done, and explains how it should be done, who
it, and under what circumstances. In addition, it often explains what
authority and what responsibility has been allocated, which supplies
materials should be used, and which documents and records
must be used to carry
out the work.
A record is a document that
shows what kinds of activities are
being performed or what kind of results are
It always documents and
provides evidence about the past.
Risk combines three elements:
it starts with a potential event,
and then combines its probability
with its potential severity.
In the context of OH&S, the concept of risk asks two future
What is the probability that a particular
event or exposure will actually occur in the future?
How severe would the
impact on health and safety be
if the hazardous event or exposure actually occurred?
A high risk hazardous event or exposure would have both
high probability of occurring and a severe impact on OH&S if
occurred. A high risk event or exposure is one that
is likely to cause severe
injury or ill health.
risk assessment considers the effectiveness of existing
OH&S controls and then evaluates the
probability and the
potential severity of
specific hazardous events and exposures.
On the basis of such an assessment,
whether or not the risk is acceptable.
workplace is a physical location where an organizationís work is
performed. A physical location is an organizationís workplace only
if it is
under its control. However, control may extend to work that
is performed while
traveling, working at home, or at a customerís
workplace. Regardless of where
work is performed, organizations
must manage their OH&S risks.