OHSAS 18001 and ISO 9001 work environment requirements


Q: We had the opportunity to get the certification for OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements. While looking at the clause interaction between ISO 9001 Quality management systems–Requirements and OHSAS 18001 given at the end of the standard, I did not find any interaction between the standards for clause 6.4 work environment in ISO 9001.

Am I missing anything or is there any reason for it?

A: I am a U.S. Technical Expert for ISO 9001 and associated  quality management system (QMS) standards and have been involved with QMS standards since 1975.

In my opinion, the answer to your question is that the developers of OHSAS 18001:2007 did not feel that ISO 9001 clause 6.4 related to 18001. This, incidentally, I find puzzling.

The requirement in ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems–Requirements clause 6.4 reads: The organization shall determine and manage the work environment needed to achieve conformity to product requirements.

In other words, you should make sure that your employees have an adequate work environment for producing your products. They should have adequate room temperature, lighting, and etc.

The 2005 report: Integrated Management Systems (IMS) – Potential Safety Benefits Achievable from Integrated Management of Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHE&Q) from Environment Directorate, Organisation For Economic Cooperation And Development, Paris, includes the following which might be of interest to you:

“OHSAS 18001 and National Standards

During drafting of the original BS 8800 a major division of opinion arose as to whether or not independent assessment and certification of an organisation’s OSHMS should be encouraged, as for QMS and EMS.  Some viewed such certificates as valuable, particularly in the context of effective supply chain management, others believed that existing certification processes: added minimal value, required excessive resources and resulted in unused manuals – so new certification processes should be resisted.  It proved impossible to reconcile these views within BS8800, which was structured and published as a non-certifiable standard.

As a result, an international consortium of certification bodies, including the commercial arm of BSI, produced the OHSAS 18001 specification in 1999, followed by implementation guidelines OHSAS 18002 in 2000.  Neither document is an official British Standard, but OHSAS 18001 either is, or is likely to become, a national standard in other countries, notably in Pacific Rim.  A recent survey by BSI identified that over 8000 OSHMS certificates have been issued in 70 countries, to many different standards and guidance, and that some 46% are to OHSAS 18001.

With the revision of BS 8800, from which it is derived, it might be presumed that OHSAS would be updated automatically.  A review is indeed planned, but the decision on when to publish a revision will take into account other factors, including the needs of current new users to have time to ‘bed down’ their internal processes before revising them to meet an improved standard.  When a revision is agreed, it is likely to include some alignment with other high-quality national standards such as AUS/NZ 4801, to aid recognition as a truly global standard.

A new US standard was published in 2005: ANSI/AIHA Z10 – Occupational Health and Safety Systems.  The format includes both a standard and associated guidance, but is not intended as a basis for certification.  It is fully compatible with ISO 9001/14001 and takes account of the other national/global OSHMS documents outlined in this section.”

OHSAS 18001:2007 is not an ISO standard. It appears to be simply an update of OHSAS 18001:2000. Its development was driven by the British Standards Institute which publishes the standard and profits directly from its distribution and sales.

Part of the answer to your question is to evaluate for yourself:

1) Why did you go to the expense to be certified to 18001:2007 and who were the customers that you were satisfying by doing this?

2) What is the expectation of these customers?

From a practical standpoint, consider embracing the concept in ISO 9001 clause 6.4. I would expect that providing your employees adequate conditions for producing products can only improve your product offerings and help to enhance customer satisfaction.

Joe Tsiakals
Voting member of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 176 (ASQ)
Voting member of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 210 (AAMI)

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One Response to OHSAS 18001 and ISO 9001 work environment requirements

  1. Sharon Tay says:

    As an Integrated QEHS management system practitioner, I would interpret “work environment” in ISO 9001 standard as the requirements of an appropriate work environment to produce quality products.
    Work environment in OHSAS 18001 context would be indirectly referred under clause 4.4.6 Operational Controls where the operating criteria has to be stipulated to ensure work environment is safe for the workers.

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