Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Certification
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Certification Process
  • OHSAS 18001
  • ISO 45001

Occupational health and safety (OH&S) management systems are concerned with the safety, health and wellbeing of people in your organization. The goals of occupational health and safety programs include fostering a safe and healthy work environment. OH&S management provides guidelines for your organization to identify hazards, and find ways to manage those hazards.

An OH&S management systems standard provides your organization with a structured framework that can help meet your OH&S legal and policy requirements, control your OH&S risks, minimize workplace-related injuries and illnesses, continually improve overall OH&S performance and demonstrate conformity to the requirements of the standard.

Benefits of Certification

The benefits of a well implemented, independently audited OHSAS program include:

  • Increased awareness of OH&S hazards, risks and control measures at all levels resulting in improved conformity to requirements
  • Improved risk management through clear identification of hazards and mitigation of potential risks through planned monitoring, measurement and control measures
  • Demonstrated commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of employees, contractors, customers and others in the workplace, with the potential for improved reputation within the community and stronger stakeholder relationships
  • Reduced costs resulting from decreased down-time from fewer injuries and illnesses, and reduced legal fees, penalties, workplace insurance premiums and worker compensation costs
  • Potential for increased business opportunities with the added credibility of independent third-party certification

Why Work With NSF?

Protecting the health and safety of your workforce is essential to achieve effective business continuity, maintain your safety record and safeguard the reputation of your organization. With a full range of solutions including baseline audits, documentation reviews and the option of combined/integrated audits, NSF-ISR can conduct your OH&S audits seamlessly along with other compatible systems including ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Our team of seasoned professionals can add value to your business through our structured and collaborative occupational health and safety management systems audits that focus on your objectives. Our structured audit process includes working with your company to complete a comprehensive assessment of all requirements of the standard and to ensure that the OH&S management system is effectively implemented, maintained, and working to improve the health and safety of your workers as well as improving overall OH&S performance metrics.

NSF-ISR is consistently ranked as one of the top registrars for overall customer satisfaction. Let us help you improve your systems and protect the health and safety of your workers.

Certification Process

The NSF-ISR OHSAS management systems certification process involves these steps:

  1. Application, Proposal and Contract
    Your company submits an application, NSF-ISR makes a proposal and you sign a contract (master agreement).
  2. Audit Team Assignment
    NSF-ISR assigns an audit team.
  3. Documentation Review
    We perform a document review for the management system and issue a report of conformance or nonconformance. (This is usually done in conjunction with the Stage 1 audit but may also be done separately.)
  4. Stage 1 Audit (On-Site Readiness Review)
    We review the level of implementation of your core OH&S management system requirements and verify the readiness of the system to undergo the Stage 2 audit.
  5. Stage 2 Audit (Certification Audit)
    Our audit team conducts a comprehensive on-site audit to verify conformity to the OHSAS 18001 or other OH&S management systems standard.
  6. Independent Internal Review
    An NSF-ISR certification board reviewer verifies that all components of the certification process were performed as per procedures, that the audit covered all the requirements of the standard and that the report and associated documentation accurately reflect the level of implementation based on the recorded observations, before making the final certification/recertification decision.
  7. Notification of Registration
    We notify your organization in writing, issue the certificate and publish the certification in our online listings.
  8. Surveillance Audits
    NSF-ISR performs semiannual or annual surveillance audits to verify that the management system is maintained and continues to meet requirements.
  9. Reassessment
    NSF-ISR performs a reassessment audit every third year in accordance with requirements.

OHSAS 18001

OHSAS 18001 is an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems. It helps organizations of all kinds put in benchmarks for demonstrable occupational health and safety management. Employment of an OH&S system can motivate your workforce and engage customers looking for businesses that take the health and safety of their employees seriously.

The OHSAS 18001 standard is compatible with other management systems standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and can be easily integrated with existing quality, environmental or other management systems to obtain process efficiencies.

ISO 45001

ISO 45001 is a proposed new international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S), providing a framework for managing the prevention of death, work-related injury and ill health, with the intended outcome of improving and providing a safe and healthy workplace for workers and persons under an organization’s control.

ISO 45001:2016, Occupational health and safety management systems takes into account other international standards in this area, such as OHSAS 18001. The standard is intended to help organizations, regardless of size or industry, in designing systems to proactively prevent injury and ill health.

The draft international standard (DIS) of ISO 45001:2016 was published on February 12, 2016 and the ballot period ended May 12. With a final tally of 71 percent in favor to 29 percent against, the DIS ballot results fell short of the required votes, as no more than a quarter of the votes can be “against” for the standard to move on to the next stage of approval.  As a result, the development of ISO 45001 will now progress to a second DIS, pushing back the estimated publication date to 2017.

During the recent ISO/PC283 Project Committee meeting June 6-10 in Toronto, Canada, the 3,000+ comments raised during the initial ballot period were discussed. The Project Committee meeting in October will review the remaining comments and finalize the second DIS, which will then be balloted again.

In order to help organizations understand the new standard, NSF-ISR has developed resources to simplify the process:

Information Guide

NSF-ISR has developed an information guide with facts about the new ISO 45001 occupational health & safety management systems standard. As new information becomes available, this document will be updated to provide you with the most current information about the upcoming standard: Download the guide


NSF-ISR will be hosting a number of webinars aimed at keeping you up to date with progress of the new proposed ISO 45001 standard as it makes its way to final publication. NSF-ISR will keep you informed about what is in the proposed standard, and what is different or new compared to OHSAS 18001. We will also host webinars supporting your organization to make registering to the standard more straight-forward. You can download the entire series of webinars on demand at no cost. Download our webinars

Top Management Briefings

It is important to have buy-in and understanding from your organization’s top management. NSF-ISR will develop a number of top management briefings on the progress of the standard through development – so your top managers are informed, know what to expect and can plan for the new standard’s requirements.

Other Resources in Development

As the standard moves through the publication process, NSF-ISR will release additional tools. You can check back here as the standard gets closer to final publication.

For information about other transitioning management systems standards, visit our ISO standards updates webpage.

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