Factsheet 26 - The Use of Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems in the Member States of the European Union

Occupational safety and health (OSH) management systems are widely recognised as essential components in creating healthier and safer working environments but what is the most effective approach? The International Labour Organization has published Guidelines on OSH Management Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) which encourage their integration with other management systems and state that OSH should be an integral part of business management. But currently, there is not a standardised, universally agreed system. Different organisations use different models, a reflection of the growing complexity and diversity of working processes and conditions. In many cases, however, these systems are incomplete. Some companies, for example, focus on accident prevention but overlook work-related illnesses, while others have clear objectives and strategies but lack the communication channels to integrate OSH good practice into the daily working environment. Prepared by Mr Helmut Hägele, ISG, Germany, the Agency report sets out the five key building blocks of an ideal OSH management system and examines how 11 companies across the EU measure up to these. All of these businesses have either introduced or improved their OSH management systems. Their experiences - in setting objectives, designing a system and implementing it - shed valuable light on the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and what is required to create an effective, integrated system. Collectively, they point to good practice and highlight the importance of innovative thinking in today’s working environment.

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