OHSAS 18001 Certification : For Occupational Health and Safety

Health and safety at work are paramount for companies. The OHSAS 18001 standard, now replaced by ISO 45001, provides a solid framework for a dedicated management system. This guide explores its importance, criteria, benefits and international recognition, to inform your choice of certification.

What is OHSAS 18001 certification ?

OHSAS 18001 certification is defined as an international standard for occupational health and safety management. First published in 1999, it gave way to ISO 45001 in 2018. This compliance certification offers an organizational model that companies can adopt to drive and improve their performance in terms of occupational health and safety. Based on the PDCA cycle (Planification-Do-Check-Act or Planification-Faire-Vérifier-Agir in French), it is harmonized with other international standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Advantageously, this standard applies to all organizations, regardless of their size, field or industry. To obtain OHSAS 18001 certification, companies must develop and deploy an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) that meets the standards. After the implementation of the system, an external evaluation is required to confirm its effectiveness and compliance.

Obtaining OHSAS 18001 certification offers several benefits to organizations, such as reducing incidents and injuries, improving the well-being of employees, reducing the costs associated with worker compensation, increased stakeholder satisfaction, advantageous market positioning and the assurance of meeting legal and regulatory obligations.

When should you consider OHSAS 18001 certification ?

OHSAS 18001 certification was an effective way for organizations to demonstrate their dedication to occupational health and safety. It offered the opportunity to mitigate risks, improve working conditions and boost the overall performance of the company.

However, it is important to note that since October 1, 2021, the OHSAS 18001 certification has ceased to be awarded, giving way to the ISO 45001 standard. The latter stands as an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems. For organizations that already hold OHSAS 18001 certification, there is a three-year transition period to ISO 45001. For those not yet certified, the direct option would be to comply with ISO 45001, which brings several benefits compared to OHSAS 18001.

The ISO 45001 standard stands out for its ease of integration with other ISO standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment), in addition to having a wider application spectrum, encompassing all workers and stakeholders. It makes a point of honor on the context of the organization, opportunities for improvement and greater involvement of workers.

To conclude, the OHSAS 18001 certification is now outdated and has been advantageously replaced by the ISO 45001 standard. To establish an effective and recognized occupational health and safety management system, it is recommended to adopt the ISO 45001 standard, which better meets the contemporary needs and expectations of organizations.

What are the differences between OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001 and ILO-OSH 2001 ?

The OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001, and ILO-OSH 2001 certifications are all designed to help organizations effectively manage occupational health and safety. However, they differ significantly in origin, content, structure, and international recognition.

The OHSAS 18001 certification, developed by a range of certification and advisory bodies as well as national standards institutes, was initially published in 1999 and revised in 2007. Although not an ISO standard, it is designed to be compatible with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Its main focus is on risk control and compliance with legislation.

ISO 45001 certification comes from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was created with input from experts from more than 70 countries. Published in 2018, it replaces the OHSAS 18001. Adopting the high-level structure common to ISO management standards, it emphasizes organizational context, continuous improvement, and employee involvement.

ILO-OSH 2001 certification was developed by the International Labour Office (ILO), in consultation with government, employer and worker representatives. Released in 2001 and revised in 2011, this standard provides guidelines rather than certification criteria. It is based on the principles and conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), while taking into account the social, cultural and organizational aspects.

Although OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001, and ILO-OSH 2001 all aim to manage occupational health and safety, they have distinct specificities. The more recent and comprehensive ISO 45001 standard replaces OHSAS 18001 and is in line with ISO management standards.

ILO-OSH 2001 provides guidelines based on ILO values and takes into account the social and cultural dimensions of safety at work.

What are the criteria for obtaining an OHSAS 18001 certification ?

To comply with OHSAS 18001 standards and achieve OHSAS 18001 certification, it is essential for organizations to develop and implement an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) that meets the requirements specified by the standard. The main criteria to be met are :

Occupational health and safety policy

Each organization must clearly articulate and document its occupational health and safety policy. It must obtain management approval, be communicated to all employees, and be subject to periodic reviews. The policy must demonstrate the company’s commitment to preventing incidents, continuously improving its OHSMS, and complying with all legal obligations.

OHSMS Planning

Organizations are required to design their OHSMS by identifying potential hazards and assessing and controlling the risks associated with their activity. They must also establish measurable health and safety objectives to increase their performance and define the resources and responsibilities necessary to achieve them.

Implementation and operation of the OHSMS

For the OHSMS to be effective, the organization must ensure the training, awareness and competence of its staff. It must also ensure rigorous internal and external communication, manage relevant documents and information controls, monitor its operations and respond appropriately to emergencies.

OHSMS Verification and Corrective Action

Finally, it is crucial to keep the OHSMS under constant supervision. This involves carrying out regular audits, measuring performance through specific indicators, scrutinizing incidents and implementing corrections and improvements based on the results obtained and the data analyzed.

The OHSMS Management Review

The organization is required to periodically review the Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OHSMS) to ensure that it remains effective, responsive and relevant. This management review should examine audit results, performance evaluation, stakeholder feedback, any internal or external developments, and opportunities for improvement.

What are the benefits of OHSAS 18001 certification for companies ?

The OHSAS 18001 certification symbolizes the involvement of companies in promoting occupational health and safety, offering them a range of significant benefits both internally and externally :

Internally

  • Reduced accidents and injuries, reducing medical expenses, compensation, absences and work stoppages.
  • Improved employee morale and motivation, emboldening their contentment, loyalty, and performance.
  • Consolidation of the culture of prevention and the desire for continuous improvement, stimulating innovation, quality of service and overall performance.
  • Facilitating integration with other management standards, such as ISO 9001 for quality and ISO 14001 for the environment, enabling process and resource optimization.


Externally

  • Confirmation of compliance with legal and regulatory standards, avoiding sanctions, disputes and complaints.
  • Improved brand image and awareness, which increases the credibility and trust of customers, suppliers, investors and authorities.
  • Distinction in the face of competition and openness to new markets, especially internationally where certification is recognized and valued.
  • Meets the growing expectations of stakeholders, including employees, customers, shareholders, and society, increasingly attentive to workplace health and safety issues.

OHSAS 18001 certification provides companies with valuable benefits, resulting in improved risk management, better working conditions and increased competitiveness.

Which countries recognize OHSAS 18001 certification ?

The OHSAS 18001 certification represents an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS). Many countries around the world adopt it as a criterion for evaluating and certifying organizations that deploy OHSMS. The main groups of countries that recognize it include :

Member countries of the European Union

Within the European Union (EU), OHSAS 18001 certification is accepted as a mark of conformity with the requirements of Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, which concerns health and safety at work. This directive aims to ensure considerable protection of the health and safety of employees within the EU. It requires employers to adopt preventive measures, to educate and train employees, to consult workers' representatives, and to organize services dedicated to their protection and prevention.

Member countries of the International Organization for Standardization

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a non-governmental entity of 165 national standards agencies, accepts OHSAS 18001 certification as consistent with its own management standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment). ISO establishes voluntary international standards that support global trade, innovation and sustainable development.

Countries signatory to the International Accreditation Forum’s Mutual Recognition Agreement

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) considers OHSAS 18001 certification as part of its Mutual Recognition Agreement (MLA). This agreement, signed by the accreditation agencies of 68 countries, guarantees the recognition of certificates issued by accredited bodies in these countries. The objective of the MLA is to promote the trust and credibility of certifications internationally.

Who can issue an OHSAS 18001 certification ?

The OHSAS 18001 certification, representing an international standard for occupational health and safety management, is awarded by independent certification bodies. The latter are accredited by renowned accreditation bodies, with the mission of ensuring that the organizations meet the requirements of the standard and then giving them the appropriate certificate.

Several certification bodies are authorized to issue OHSAS 18001 certification, including Bureau Veritas, SGS, AFNOR, TÜV, etc. Although methodologies and rates vary from one organization to another, they are all bound by strict principles of impartiality, competence, responsibility, openness, confidentiality and responsiveness.

To select a certification body, it is recommended to compare the services and references offered by each, check their accreditation and prestige, request a tailor-made quote and ensure the transparency of the certification process. It is also crucial to ensure that the chosen organization has qualified and experienced auditors specific to your industry.

The OHSAS 18001 certification is granted by independent and duly accredited certification bodies, which judge the conformity of organizations with the standard. Although there is a wide choice of certification bodies that can award OHSAS 18001 certification, rigorous selection based on their services, background, accreditation and reputation is essential.

La procédure classique

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

1

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

2

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

3

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