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OHSAS 18001 History

The OHSAS 18001 standard was developed to bridge the gap where no international standard existed for occupational health and safety. Development involved input from a number of leading bodies, including certifiers, trade bodies and expert consultancies.

The first version of the standard appeared in 1999 and was based on a number of existing standards (including BS8800:1996) that had been developed by the leading national certification bodies.

The current version of the standard is OHSAS 18001:2007. This supersedes OHSAS 18001:1999, which was phased out in July 2009.

Despite not currently being an ISO standard, OHSAS 18001 has been designed to be compatible with the ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environmental) standards, thus helping organisations to achieve an integrated management strategy. In 2016, a new Health and Safety Management System standard called ISO 45001 is expected to be published - this will then supersede OHSAS 18001.

The OHSAS 18001 standard specifies a number of key criteria for an organisation to demonstrate and includes:

  • Planning for hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control
  • Structure and responsibility
  • Training, awareness and competence
  • Consultation and communication
  • Operational control
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Performance measuring, monitoring and improvement

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