Implementing OHSAS 18001

Even if an organization does not have a formal management system, it will have laid down rules for many elements already, so it never has to start ‘from scratch’. A management system provides structure. Often, elements only need to be refined or augmented and better coordinated with each other.

Since ultimately the entire organization will be affected by the management system, for example in performing work or communicating with customers, the direct involvement of management is indispensable. Management is also responsible for the basic principles of compliance with legislation and regulations, preventing illness and injuries and improving performance.

It is important when starting out to ask:

  • What operations, products or processes are covered by the management system? This may be all of an organization’s operations, or clearly delineated divisions.
  • Are the organization’s branch offices also covered by the same management system?
  • Are there other management systems in place with which integration is possible?
  • Who within the organization(s) is responsible for implementation of the system?
  • What is already in place, and what still needs to be done: how big is the gap?
  • Who within the organization must be involved (due to knowledge and/or support)?
  • Is external help still needed to set up the system?


The core of the OHS management system is the identification and evaluation of the areas subject to hazards and risks or where improvements can be made is. Setting this component up properly lays the foundation for the other elements of the management system. Some organizations link the overview of legislation and regulations to this identification. Some perform an RI&E (risk identification and evaluation) when setting up an OHS management system. SCCM has an information booklet about identifying and evaluating risks, with examples and tips (only available in Dutch).


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