Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems

Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems

Melanie Dixon March 15, 2022

An introduction to AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.

What are Management Systems?

What is a Health & Safety Management System (HSMS)?

Importance of Health and Safety Management Systems

Developing a certified Health and Safety Management System

Do you need assistance?

What are Management Systems?

A management system provides structured policies and processes designed to help companies manage their impacts and improve their performance. A management system defines how a company will identify, assess, monitor and maintain their interactions with their workers and the working environment.

Management systems are made up of a series of interconnected elements that drive continual improvement. In order to deliver continual improvement consistently across a company, management processes are typically based on a four-phase cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

1. Plan for an activity

2. Do the activity

3. Check effectiveness of controls

4 Act on implementing the process with the effective controls

Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems -  Plan Do Check Act Diagram
Management Systems Plan Do Check Act – PDCA Diagram

For further information on the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle see our Management Systems article.

What is a Health & Safety Management System (HSMS)?

A Health & Safety Management System (HSMS) provides a systematic approach to managing health and safety. A HSMS helps an organisation to establish, implement, and maintain policies and processes to eliminate hazards, minimise risks including system deficiencies, and address nonconformities.

The purpose of a HSMS is to set out, in a structured and organised way, the particular aspects of your operations that influence the health and safety outcomes of your workers and other people at your worksites.

HSMS Structure

The size and the complexity of your company will influence how your HSMS is developed; that is the format of the system and level of information that is included. For small companies undertaking lower risk operations to health and safety, the structure of the HSMS may be organised into one document. For large organisations with multiple sites and various operations and/or high-risk activities then various policies, standards, procedures and plans may be required to ensure an effective management system.

The HSMS will document the following:

Safety policy: this will outline the company’s intentions in relation to how health and safety outcomes will be managed

Management structure: this ensures that the people who have particular responsibilities for safety are clearly identified

Safe work procedures: these procedures describe how risks arising from particular hazards will be controlled

Processes for providing information and training and appropriate inductions for workers

Other procedural issues such as reporting of incidents, record keeping and maintenance of the safety management system

Emergency procedures

ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System

There are internationally recognised standards for management systems including ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety. This Standard helps organisations to establish, implement, and maintain processes to eliminate hazards, minimise risks and address nonconformities. It provides guidance on how to use management processes to prevent work-related injuries and ill health, as well as how to proactively improve workplace health and safety performance.

Importance of Health and Safety Management Systems

The establishment and implementation of a HSMS is key to identifying your health and safety risks and requirements to ensure effective controls are implemented. A management system is an effective method of documenting processes and ensuring consistency in implementation as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.

The benefits of an effective HSMS include:

  • Improved risk management and protection of workers
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory and compliance obligations
  • Streamline safety hazard and risk management with efficient use of resources
  • Improve employee reporting, communication, and overall safety culture
  • Centralisation of documentation and monitoring for continuous improvement

Developing a certified Health and Safety Management System

We can assist you with the development of a certified HSMS. Our steps for the development of a certified HSMS are:

1. Health and safety review

2. System development

3. System implementation

4. Internal audit

5. Certification audit

These steps are detailed below.

Health and Safety Review

Before we start, we will provide you with background information about the standard, AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 , that the system is being developed in accordance with.

During the review your consultant will:

  • Explain the requirements of the Standard
  • Work with you to identify and assess of all hazards and relevant risks
  • Demonstrate the use of a Risk Assessment Model to assess and prioritise risks
  • Work with you to establish health and safety objectives and targets

System Development

Your HSMS, including all procedures and documentation required for certification will be developed by an experienced consultant. If you already have health and safety documents and processes, these will be integrated into the management system.

You will review the system and provide us with feedback. If necessary, we will change the system based on your feedback.


Your consultant will provide you with clear guidance on how to implement the system into your business. We will help you understand the everyday requirements of your HSMS and its applicability and alignment with your health and safety objectives and targets.

We will provide assistance with any issue, query or request you may have to assist you with implementing the system in your business.

Internal Audit

Before certification, an internal audit of the system is required. The internal audit will be conducted by your Applied Environment & Safety consultant to ensure the successful implementation of the management system. A detailed audit report with recommendations will be provided.

Certification Audit

We will help you to select a certification body appropriate to your needs and liaise with them regarding the timing of the certification audit to ensure that you are prepared and that your timescales are met.

The management system will be certified for conformance with the Standard by a third-party certifying body.  Your Applied Environment & Safety consultant will be available, generally by phone, during Stage 1 of the certification audit.

Do you need assistance?

We have vast experience in the review, development and implementation of health and safety management systems.

Our experience includes:

  • Management system compliance review 
  • Review and development of management systems to Standards and other regulatory requirements
  • Management system documents development including policies, standards, and safe operating procedures development
  • Auditing of management system for compliance and opportunities for improvement

Contact us if you need further support or have detailed question for our team of experts.