This article explains the key components of the occupational health and safety management system (OHS) that organisations need to implement to protect the wellbeing and safety of their employees.

The importance of having a well-planned occupational health and safety management system is still not realised by many organisations. It helps them to ensure the overall safety of their employees by considering the potential risks or hazards in their workplaces. Organisations that act responsibly have already implemented an OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) management system to have a strategic approach towards their employee safety. They have the best measures or practices as a part of their OHS management system to identify risks, evaluate, and prevent them.

More precisely, the implementation of a well-organised OHS management system helps the organisation to keep their employee safety in the following ways.

• It promotes data-driven assessment and improvements in safety practices which help in reducing workplace accidents, hazards or negligence

• It makes sure that every employee in the organisation follows the appropriate practices and instructions that are intended for their safety

• It promotes frequent inspections and monitoring of workplaces to identify any new potential risks or hazards

Organisations need to remember that just adopting any OHS management system is not going to assure the complete safety of their workers. Organisations can assure it only when they implement the system by incorporating all the key elements that are vital for workers’ safety. Here we go. The following section explains the must-haves for your OHS management system which makes it the best possible system for ensuring workplace safety.

6 Key Components of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System

Safety Management Plan

The first component of any management system is a plan that specifies its structure and how its different procedures or measures should be implemented in the organisation. In the case of the OHS management system, you need to have a strategic action plan that specifies its governance structure within the organisation and safety practices that need to be followed by everyone. The plan is prepared after analysing the current as well as prospective occupational risks to workers and determining the measures for controlling or eliminating them. A safety management plan is also necessary to make sure that every employee understands the key safety practices/obligations and is also accountable to follow them.

Safety Policy

A defined safety policy is required to lay the foundation of your OHS management system. It must be formed after identifying your potential risks, work safety goals, and expectations of your workers. The policy also works as a comprehensive document where everything regarding safety behaviour, safety procedures, record-keeping, risk identification and incident reporting.

Employee Training and Awareness

Depending on the type of the risks at your workplace i.e., whether it is high risk or low risk, you need to provide training to employees and hold induction for new ones joining your organisation. They should be trained about the safety rules of your company, appropriate working procedures, and rules of their particular worksite. The training program mostly depends on the level of risks to which the workers are exposed to.


One of the critical components of the OHS management system is monitoring the workplace situations frequently and identifying any prospective risks or hazards. Monitoring also helps in finding out the non-accountability of employees in following any safety procedures or rules. The higher risks or negligence observed in any worksite, the more frequent and more rigorously it needs to be monitored. Other than safety management, monitoring is necessary for circumstances when there are any new processes, workstations, or work equipment introduced in your organisation.


A keyway to ensure that all safety obligations and procedural controls are carried out by the employees in the right way is supervision by the OHS managers. The level of supervision depends on the effectiveness of the safety controls in reducing and managing the risks. It means if the supervisors find out that the dedicated controls are not effective enough in reducing or mitigating the risks, they are intended to raise the level of supervision from next time onwards.


The OHS management system is rather incomplete without a deliberate safety reporting method. It must introduce the method for reporting incidents of workplace risk or occupational hazards at levels of their organisation. As a result of a responsive risk reporting system, occurrence of an accident or occupational hazard can be brought to the immediate notice of OHS managers. Together with the directors of the organisation, they can initiate actions for recovery and reducing its impact on the workers.

In a nutshell, a health and safety management system assists organisations to effectively handle their occupational risks, no matter what their type or origin. It subsequently helps you to create a safe working environment, where workers know how to keep up their safety and how to respond when anything goes wrong. With so many aspects important in OHS management, it is natural for organisations to get confused while implementing a system dedicated to it. Therefore, to help you succeed at implementing an effective OHS management system, we have mentioned its critical components. Including each of them ensures that the workers’ safety is well addressed by your organisation.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is the owner and head consultant of a distinguished ISO certification consultancy agency in Australia that assists organisations to get ISO accreditations for their management systems. He is also a dedicated writer and likes to write more on occupational health and safety management system, standards for its compliance like ISO 45001 or AS/NZS 4801 and ways to achieve them.

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