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How to Build a Successful Safety and Health Management System

Jan 14, 2020

Industry consensus standards offer businesses large and small Man and woman on construction site discussing building plansbest practices and expertise on how to improve occupational safety and health. The challenge can lie in how to implement that knowledge to improve your organization.

Two new documents from the ANSI/ASSP Z10 Committee, which developed the Z10.0 standard for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS), offer guidance to do exactly that. The manuals provide comprehensive guidelines for implementing and maintaining an OHSMS to help put organizations of all sizes on a path to continuous improvement.

The Z10.0 standard centers around seven key elements that serve as the foundation for developing and improving an OHSMS.

  1. Worker participation
  2. Management leadership
  3. Planning
  4. Support
  5. Implementation and operation
  6. Evaluation and corrective action
  7. Management review

One key aspect of Z10.0 and these supplemental guidance documents is that they encourage safety professionals to consider safety and health management in the context of their organization. The standard also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between workers and management in developing a successful safety management system. As such, the standard and implementation guides provide an organization flexibility to implement the standard in a way that meets its specific needs.

Z10 Guidance and Implementation Manual

ASSP GM-Z10.100-2019, Guidance and Implementation Manual for ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, provides step-by-step direction for implementing the different elements of an OHSMS, from establishing roles and responsibilities and conducting a risk assessment to performing incident investigations and tracking metrics.

The manual emphasizes systems thinking and understanding that all system elements are interconnected. It also stresses that since the system’s components and processes are dynamic, an organization must continually monitor and improve to maximize the effectiveness of the system.

The step-by-step guidance is paired with tools that an organization can use to carry out each step of implementing and improving its OHSMS. These include an example audit protocol, conformance scorecard and incident investigation form, as well as a table that compares different OHSMS standards including Z10, ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001.

Keeping People Safe in Smaller Organizations

ASSP GM-Z10.101-2019, Guidance Manual: Keeping Your People Safe in Smaller Organizations, helps small businesses understand the importance of having an OHSMS, the fundamentals of safety and health management and how to get started developing a safety management system.

Appendix A focuses on the question, “What does an effective OHSMS look like?” Tables throughout the document detail the key elements of an effective system and explain which measures are more effective and less effective in achieving safety and health goals.

For instance, it is more effective for managers and workers to collaborate and proactively identify and control hazards rather than waiting until an illness, injury or fatality occurs to act. Subsequent appendixes offer tools and resources for completing an incident report, developing goals and objectives, identifying hazards, preparing for emergency response and measuring safety and health performance.

Click here to view all of ASSP's construction safety resources

Learn more about the Z10 standard and occupational health and safety management systems in our podcasts with Z10 Committee members Jim Howe and Amy Timmerman.

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