Safety Management Systems: Comparing Content & Impact
- Joel M. Haight (University of Pittsburgh) | Patrick Yorio (NIOSH) | Kristen A. Rost (NIOSH) | Dana R. Willmer (NIOSH)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- May 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 44 - 51
- 2014. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 140 since 2007
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Occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) have become popular as agencies such as OSHA expect to propose regulations and as consensus standards and industry programs such as ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z10, OHSAS 18001 and Nation-al Mining Association’s (NMA) CORESafety are implemented. Other management-system-like processes have been implemented over the years as well, including OSHA’s Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) standard, promulgated in 1992, and American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care program, introduced in 1988.
But what is the difference between an OHSMS and how occupational safety has tradition-ally been managed? Why do many practitioners and researchers perceive management systems to be a better way to manage occupational safety and health? How can one know that the content of these systems and the content mix are appropriate and that their implementation will be effective?
With so many systems being promoted, it has become confusing. This confusion is tempered in industries guided either by regulations (e.g., OSHA PSM standard in process industries) or by their professional industry organization (e.g., NMA’s CORESafety). This article aims to identify differences between systems to provide readers with some basis for their selection of an OHSMS.
Although Responsible Care has existed for more than 25 years and the PSM standard for more than 20, empirical evidence of their effectiveness is lacking. Furthermore, since many management system consensus standards are relatively new, not enough time has passed to let them work and to subsequently provide evidence to demonstrate whether and to what extent they effectively accomplish safety objectives (e.g., prevent injuries).
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