OHSAS 18001

Health & safety management systems

"The safety of the people shall be the highest law" - Marcus Tullius Cicero

The matter of occupational health and safety has been an issue since the industrial revolution, when in response to concerns in the United Kingdom about the poor health of children working in cotton mills, a dedicated professional Factory inspectorate has been created in 1833.

Things evolved in the 20th century as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) turned their attention on the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment.

According to the World Health Organization "occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards."

OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment System) 18001 is an internationally applied standard, part of the OHSAS 18000 family together with OHSAS 18002; that sets out the requirements for a health and safety management system.

Until the first edition of OHSAS 18001, in 1999, a variety of national standards and proprietary certification schemes were circulating on the market thus creating confusion and fragmentation.

In 2007, OHSAS 18001 has been revised. Among other changes the revision ensured a closer alignment with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 so that integrated implementation of those standards was facilitated.

The core element of OHSAS 18001 is represented by the identification of health and safety hazards, evaluation of associated risks, identification and implementation of control measures to prevent work accidents and professional illness. Since health and safety aspects are regulated in most countries, OHSAS 18001 aids legal compliance.

OHSAS 18001 has been developed outside of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) framework, but an ISO standard that deals with the requirements for occupational health and safety management system (ISO 45001) is expected to be published in the near future. This new standard will share the same structure as the current versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and will probably become the reference for this type of management systems.


Interested in an online course on the OHSAS 18001:2007 requirements and auditing?

Follow this link: OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety Management System Auditor.