The organization shall:
a) determine the necessary competence of workers that affects or can affect its OH&S performance;
b) ensure that workers are competent (including the ability to identify hazards) on the basis of appropriate education, training or experience;
c) where applicable, take actions to acquire and maintain the necessary competence, and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken;
d) retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence.
NOTE Applicable actions can include, for example, the provision of training to, the mentoring of, or the re-assignment of currently employed persons, or the hiring or contracting of competent persons.
As per Annex A (Guidance on the use of ISO 45001:2018 standard) of ISO 45001:2018 standard it further explains
The competence of workers should include the knowledge and skills needed to appropriately identify the hazards and deal with the OH&S risks associated with their work and workplace. In determining the competence for each role, the organization should take into account things such as:
a) the education, training, qualification and experience necessary to undertake the role and the re-
training necessary to maintain competence;
b) the work environment;
c) the preventive and control measures resulting from the risk assessment process(es);
d) the requirements applicable to the OH&S management system;
e) legal requirements and other requirements;
f) the OH&S policy;
g) the potential consequences of compliance and noncompliance, including the impact on the worker’s health and safety;
h) the value of participation of workers in the OH&S management system based on their knowledge and skill;
i) the duties and responsibilities associated with the roles;
j) individual capabilities, including experience, language skills, literacy and diversity;
k) the relevant updating of the competence made necessary by context or work changes.
Workers can assist the organization in determining the competence needed for roles.
Workers should have the necessary competence to remove themselves from situations of imminent and serious danger. For this purpose, it is important that workers are provided with sufficient training on hazards and risks associated with their work.As appropriate, workers should receive the training required to enable them to carry out their representative functions for occupational health and safety effectively. In many countries, it is a legal requirement to provide training at no cost to workers.
1) The organization shall determine the necessary competence of workers that affects or can affect its OH&S performance
Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is a critical aspect of workplace management, and workers need specific competencies to ensure their safety and the safety of their colleagues. Organizations are responsible for determining the necessary competence of workers that can affect their OH&S performance.
- Identifying Competence Needs: Organizations need to identify the specific competencies required for each role or task within the workplace. This involves understanding how each worker’s actions and decisions can impact occupational health and safety.
- Risk Assessment: Conduct a risk assessment to determine which job roles or tasks pose the most significant OH&S risks. Workers in roles with higher risks may require more specialized training and competencies.
- Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Ensure compliance with relevant OH&S laws and regulations, which often require organizations to define competence requirements for their workers. These regulations may specify minimum training and certification standards.
- Job Descriptions: Clearly define job descriptions and roles, including the OH&S responsibilities associated with each role. This helps in understanding the specific competencies needed for different positions.
- Training and Development: Develop training programs and opportunities for workers to acquire the necessary competencies. Training can include both initial onboarding and ongoing professional development to keep workers up to date with changing practices.
- Competency Assessment: Regularly assess and verify the competence of workers through various means, such as testing, observations, and performance evaluations. This ensures that workers maintain the required skills and knowledge.
- Documentation: Maintain records of workers’ competencies, including training certificates, qualifications, and performance assessments. This documentation helps demonstrate compliance and provides a basis for improvement.
- Continuous Improvement: Continuously review and update competence requirements as the organization evolves, new technologies are adopted, or new risks emerge. Ensure that workers are adequately prepared for these changes.
- Communication: Establish clear communication channels for workers to report their competence-related concerns or needs. Workers should feel comfortable discussing their training and competency requirements with their supervisors.
- Feedback and Engagement: Encourage worker involvement in the competence assessment and development process. Workers often have valuable insights into the practical aspects of their jobs and can contribute to identifying necessary competencies.
- Supervision and Support: Ensure that supervisors and managers are also competent in OH&S matters and can provide guidance and support to workers. They should lead by example when it comes to safety.
- Emergency Preparedness: Ensure that workers are competent to respond effectively to emergencies, including knowing how to use safety equipment and following evacuation procedures.
By systematically determining, assessing, and addressing the competence needs of workers, organizations can significantly improve their OH&S performance, reduce accidents and incidents, and create a safer working environment for all employees. Here are some key competencies needed by workers with respect to OH&S:
- Awareness of OH&S Regulations: Workers should have a basic understanding of relevant OH&S laws, regulations, and standards in their industry or region. This includes knowing their rights and responsibilities as well as the employer’s obligations.
- Hazard Identification: Workers should be able to identify potential hazards in the workplace, such as machinery, chemicals, or unsafe practices. This involves recognizing both physical and psychological hazards.
- Risk Assessment: Competent workers should know how to assess the level of risk associated with different hazards. This includes understanding the likelihood and severity of potential accidents or injuries.
- Safe Work Practices: Workers must be trained in and follow safe work practices and procedures. This includes knowing how to use safety equipment, handle hazardous materials, and operate machinery safely.
- Emergency Response: Workers should be trained in emergency response procedures, including evacuation plans, first aid, and how to use fire extinguishers or other safety equipment.
- Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial for reporting hazards, incidents, and near misses. Workers should be able to communicate safety concerns to their supervisors and coworkers.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Competent workers should know when and how to use PPE, such as helmets, gloves, safety glasses, or respirators, and ensure it is properly maintained.
- Health and Hygiene: Workers should be aware of good personal hygiene practices, such as proper handwashing, to prevent the spread of illnesses. They should also know how to handle chemicals safely and be aware of potential health hazards.
- Ergonomics: Understanding proper ergonomics can help prevent musculoskeletal disorders and injuries related to posture and repetitive tasks.
- Safety Culture: Workers should contribute to creating a culture of safety in the workplace by promoting safety awareness and encouraging their colleagues to follow safe practices.
- Training and Development: Continual learning and staying up-to-date with changes in OH&S regulations and best practices are essential. Workers should participate in relevant training programs and workshops.
- Reporting and Documentation: Competent workers should know how to complete incident reports, near-miss reports, and other required documentation accurately and in a timely manner.
- Teamwork: Collaboration with colleagues and supervisors to address safety concerns and implement safety improvements is crucial. Workers should be willing to work together to create a safer work environment.
- Problem Solving: Workers may encounter unexpected safety challenges. The ability to analyze situations and find practical solutions to safety issues is an important competency.
- Resilience and Stress Management: The ability to cope with stress and adapt to changing circumstances is important for maintaining focus and safety in the workplace.
These competencies, when developed and maintained, help create a safer work environment and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, benefiting both workers and employers. Training and ongoing education play a vital role in ensuring that workers possess these competencies and can effectively contribute to workplace safety.
2) The organization shall ensure that workers are competent (including the ability to identify hazards) on the basis of appropriate education, training or experience;
Ensuring that workers are competent, including their ability to identify hazards, is essential for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Here are steps an organization can take to achieve this:
- Job Analysis and Competency Assessment:
- Conduct a thorough job analysis to understand the specific skills, knowledge, and abilities required for each role within the organization.
- Identify the hazards and risks associated with each job.
- Determine the necessary competencies for each worker to perform their job safely.
- Competency Framework:
- Develop a competency framework that outlines the required skills and knowledge for each job role, including hazard identification and mitigation skills.
- Clearly define the competency standards and criteria that workers need to meet.
- Education and Training Programs:
- Design and implement education and training programs tailored to the identified competencies.
- Training should cover hazard identification, risk assessment, and safe work practices.
- Ensure that the training is accessible, engaging, and effective.
- Onboarding and Orientation:
- Provide comprehensive onboarding and orientation programs for new hires to introduce them to the organization’s safety culture, policies, and procedures.
- Include hazard identification and reporting as a critical component of this process.
- Continuous Learning:
- Offer ongoing training and professional development opportunities to help workers maintain and improve their competencies.
- Stay updated on industry best practices and incorporate new knowledge into training programs.
- Competency Assessment:
- Regularly assess workers’ competencies to ensure they meet the established standards.
- Use a variety of assessment methods, including written tests, practical demonstrations, and observations.
- Provide constructive feedback to workers based on their performance assessments.
- Supervision and Mentoring:
- Assign competent supervisors or mentors who can guide and support less experienced workers.
- Encourage regular communication between workers and their supervisors to discuss safety concerns and learning needs.
- Maintain accurate records of workers’ education, training, and competency assessments.
- Document workers’ progress and any additional training or corrective actions taken.
- Feedback Mechanisms:
- Establish mechanisms for workers to report safety concerns and hazards they encounter.
- Encourage workers to actively participate in hazard identification and reporting processes.
- Safety Culture:
- Foster a safety-conscious organizational culture that values hazard identification and continuous improvement.
- Recognize and reward workers who actively participate in safety initiatives.
- Regular Reviews and Updates:
- Periodically review and update the competency framework and training programs to align with changing job requirements and industry standards.
- Continuously assess the effectiveness of training and make improvements as needed.
- External Certifications and Qualifications:
- Encourage workers to obtain relevant external certifications or qualifications, where applicable, to enhance their competence.
- Recognize and support workers who pursue such certifications.
- Audits and Inspections:
- Conduct regular audits and inspections to verify that workers are applying their competencies in their work and following safety protocols.
By following these steps, organizations can ensure that workers are competent and capable of identifying hazards, which is crucial for preventing workplace accidents and promoting a culture of safety.
3) The organization shall where applicable, take actions to acquire and maintain the necessary competence, and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken
To ensure that workers acquire and maintain the necessary competence, organizations should take a series of proactive actions and continuously assess the effectiveness of these actions. Here’s a step-by-step approach:
1. Identify Competency Needs:
- Conduct a comprehensive job analysis to determine the specific competencies required for each job role within the organization.
- Identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for workers to perform their tasks safely, including the ability to identify hazards.
2. Develop Competency Plans:
- Create individualized competency development plans for each worker based on their job roles and the identified needs.
- Outline the required training, education, and experience necessary for workers to acquire and maintain their competencies.
3. Provide Education and Training:
- Offer appropriate education and training programs designed to meet the identified competency needs.
- Ensure that training is engaging, practical, and relevant to the workers’ roles and responsibilities.
- Include hazard identification and safety training as integral components of the education and training programs.
4. Onboarding and Orientation:
- Implement thorough onboarding and orientation processes for new hires to introduce them to the organization’s safety culture and competency expectations.
5. Continuous Learning:
- Encourage workers to engage in ongoing learning and professional development to maintain and improve their competencies.
- Provide access to relevant courses, workshops, and resources.
6. Competency Assessment:
- Regularly assess workers’ competencies to ensure they meet the established standards.
- Use a combination of methods, such as tests, practical assessments, observations, and peer reviews.
- Provide constructive feedback to workers based on their assessments.
7. Supervision and Support:
- Assign competent supervisors or mentors to guide and support workers in acquiring and maintaining their competencies.
- Encourage regular communication between workers and their supervisors to address safety concerns and learning needs.
8. Documentation and Records:
- Maintain accurate records of workers’ education, training, and competency assessments.
- Document workers’ progress, any additional training or corrective actions taken, and certifications obtained.
9. Feedback and Evaluation:
- Establish mechanisms for workers to provide feedback on the effectiveness of education and training programs.
- Conduct regular evaluations of the training programs to identify areas for improvement.
10. Performance Reviews: – Include competency assessments as part of workers’ performance reviews. – Recognize and reward workers who actively engage in competency development and demonstrate a commitment to safety.
11. Audits and Inspections: – Conduct periodic audits and inspections to verify that workers are applying their competencies in their work and adhering to safety protocols.
12. Continuous Improvement: – Continuously review and update competency plans and training programs to align with changing job requirements and industry standards. – Analyze data and feedback to make improvements in competency development processes.
13. Compliance Monitoring: – Ensure that the organization remains compliant with relevant OH&S regulations and standards regarding worker competence. – Address any identified gaps in competency promptly.
14. External Certifications and Qualifications: – Encourage workers to pursue relevant external certifications or qualifications that enhance their competence and are recognized in the industry.
15. Safety Culture: Foster a safety-conscious organizational culture that values competency development and supports workers in acquiring and maintaining their skills.
16. Regular Reporting: Establish a system for reporting on competency development progress and outcomes to senior management and stakeholders.
To evaluate the effectiveness of these actions, organizations can use various methods, including:
- Performance Metrics: Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) related to safety, such as accident/incident rates, near-miss reports, and hazard identification reports. Improved safety outcomes can indicate the effectiveness of competency development efforts.
- Feedback and Surveys: Collect feedback from workers regarding the quality and relevance of training and education programs. Use surveys and focus groups to gather insights.
- Competency Assessments: Continuously review the results of competency assessments to track progress and identify areas where additional training or support is needed.
- Audits and Inspections: Evaluate the implementation of competencies in the workplace through audits and inspections. Identify any gaps or non-compliance issues.
- Performance Reviews: Review workers’ performance reviews to assess their ability to apply acquired competencies in their roles.
- Case Studies: Analyze specific incidents or successes related to hazard identification and control to gauge the effectiveness of competency development efforts.
By taking these actions and regularly assessing their outcomes, organizations can ensure that workers acquire and maintain the necessary competence to perform their jobs safely and effectively. Continuous improvement based on evaluation results is key to enhancing safety and competency development efforts.
4) The organization shall retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence.
As per ISO 45001:2018 (the international standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems), organizations are required to retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence. This documented information serves as evidence that the organization is effectively managing the competence of its workforce.
1. Records of Competence Assessment:
- Organizations should maintain records that demonstrate the competency assessment process for each worker. These records may include the results of competency tests, practical assessments, and observations.
- Records of competency assessments should be kept up-to-date and be accessible for verification purposes.
2. Training and Development Records:
- Documented information related to training and development efforts should be retained. This includes records of training completion, certificates, and transcripts.
- Records should specify the training content, date of completion, and the names of trainers or training providers.
3. Certification Records:
- If workers obtain relevant certifications or qualifications as evidence of their competence, the organization should maintain records of these certifications.
- These records should include details such as the type of certification, certification body, date of issuance, and expiration date (if applicable).
4. Performance Reviews and Evaluations:
- Records of workers’ performance reviews and evaluations should be retained. These records may include feedback, assessments of competency, and action plans for improvement.
- Performance review records provide evidence of ongoing competency development.
5. Documentation of Competency Improvement Plans:
- If workers require additional training or support to meet competency requirements, records of the development and implementation of competency improvement plans should be maintained.
- These records should outline the steps taken to address competency gaps.
6. Communication Records:
- Documented information related to communication regarding competency development should be retained. This may include internal communications, announcements, and training schedules.
- Communication records demonstrate the organization’s commitment to competency development.
7. Records of Competency-related Incidents or Near Misses:
- Organizations should retain records related to competency-related incidents or near misses. These records should include incident reports, investigations, and corrective actions taken.
- This documentation helps track the impact of competency on safety.
8. Competency-related Non-Conformities and Corrective Actions:
- Records of identified non-conformities related to competency should be maintained, along with documented corrective and preventive actions.
- These records demonstrate the organization’s commitment to addressing competency-related issues.
9. Documentation of Audits and Inspections:
- Records of audits and inspections related to competency should be retained, including the results of these assessments and any corrective actions taken.
- Audit and inspection records provide evidence of compliance with competency requirements.
10. Competency Development Progress Records: – Records that track the progress of workers in acquiring and maintaining competencies, especially as they relate to hazard identification and OH&S, should be maintained. – These records show the continuous improvement of worker competence.
11. Documentation of External Certifications and Qualifications: – If workers obtain external certifications or qualifications that enhance their competence, records of these certifications should be retained. – These records validate the competence of the workforce.
12. Records of Competency Communication with Regulatory Authorities: – If required by regulatory authorities, organizations should maintain records of communication related to competency matters with these authorities.
Retaining these documented pieces of information as evidence of competence is not only a requirement of ISO 45001 but also a best practice in occupational health and safety management. These records serve as a basis for demonstrating compliance, tracking progress, and supporting the organization’s commitment to safety and competency development.
Applicable actions can include, for example, the provision of training to, the mentoring of, or the re-assignment of currently employed persons, or the hiring or contracting of competent persons.
The provision of training, mentoring, re-assignment, hiring, or contracting of competent persons are all applicable actions that organizations can take to ensure workers acquire and maintain the necessary competence. Here’s a more detailed explanation of each action:
- Provision of Training:
- Training Programs: Develop and implement training programs tailored to the specific competencies required for each job role.
- On-the-Job Training: Provide hands-on training to workers, allowing them to acquire practical skills and knowledge.
- Classroom Training: Offer classroom-based or online courses to teach theoretical aspects of competency, such as hazard identification principles.
- Certification Programs: Support workers in obtaining relevant certifications or qualifications that validate their competence.
- Mentorship Programs: Establish mentorship programs where experienced and competent workers guide and support less experienced colleagues.
- Knowledge Transfer: Encourage experienced workers to share their knowledge, insights, and best practices related to hazard identification and safety.
- Regular Feedback: Promote open communication between mentors and mentees, allowing for continuous learning and improvement.
- Job Rotation: Consider rotating workers through different roles within the organization to broaden their experience and competencies.
- Re-Training: When re-assigning workers to new roles, provide them with the necessary training to perform their new tasks safely.
- Hiring or Contracting Competent Persons:
- Recruitment: When hiring new employees, ensure that they possess the required competencies or the potential to acquire them.
- Contracting: Consider outsourcing certain tasks or roles to external contractors who have demonstrated expertise in hazard identification and safety.
- Cross-Train Workers: Provide opportunities for workers to gain knowledge and skills outside of their primary job roles, enhancing their overall competence.
- Emergency Response Teams: Cross-train workers to be part of emergency response teams, ensuring they are competent in handling critical situations.
- Feedback and Continuous Improvement:
- Regularly assess the effectiveness of these actions by monitoring safety performance metrics, conducting competency assessments, and seeking feedback from workers.
- Adjust training and development initiatives based on the results of these evaluations to continually improve competency development efforts.
- Performance Reviews:
- Incorporate competency assessments into workers’ performance reviews to gauge their ability to identify hazards and maintain safety.
- Use performance reviews as an opportunity to discuss further training and development needs.
- Documentation and Records:
- Maintain records of all competency-related actions, including training completion, mentoring sessions, re-assignments, and external contracting.
- These records provide a clear trail of the organization’s commitment to competency development and compliance with regulations.
- Communication and Reporting:
- Communicate the organization’s commitment to competency development and safety to all employees.
- Encourage workers to report any concerns or needs related to competency, training, or safety.
- Root Cause Analysis:
- In the event of incidents or accidents, conduct thorough root cause analysis to determine if competency gaps played a role. Address any identified issues promptly.
By implementing these actions and continuously evaluating their effectiveness, organizations can ensure that their workers are equipped with the necessary competence to identify hazards, prevent accidents, and maintain a safe and healthy work environment. Competent workers are a fundamental component of a successful occupational health and safety program.
Documented Information required
- Competency Framework: Organizations should have a documented competency framework that outlines the specific skills, knowledge, and abilities required for each job role within the organization, including those related to hazard identification and OH&S.
- Competency Plans: Document individualized competency development plans for workers, detailing the training, education, and experience required for each role to acquire and maintain the necessary competencies.
- Training Materials: Maintain training materials and content used for educating workers, including materials related to hazard identification and safe work practices.
- Job Descriptions: Document clear and up-to-date job descriptions for each role, highlighting the OH&S responsibilities associated with each position.
- Training Records: Maintain records of workers’ training attendance, completion, and results, including records of hazard identification and safety training.
- Competency Assessments: Keep records of competency assessments for workers, including the results of tests, practical assessments, and observations related to hazard identification and OH&S.
- Performance Reviews: Document the results of workers’ performance reviews, which should include assessments of their ability to apply acquired competencies in their roles.
- Mentorship and Coaching Records: If mentorship or coaching programs are in place, maintain records of mentorship sessions and coaching interactions.
- Competency Improvement Plans: If workers require additional training or support to meet competency requirements, keep records of the development and implementation of competency improvement plans.
- Records of Certification: If workers obtain relevant certifications or qualifications, maintain records of these certifications, including their expiration dates and any associated renewal processes.
- Training Effectiveness Records: Monitor and document the effectiveness of training programs through feedback, evaluations, and the impact on safety performance metrics.
- Communication Records: Keep records of communications related to competency development, including internal communications, announcements, and training schedules.
- Competency-related Incidents or Near Misses: Document any incidents or near misses related to competency gaps and the corrective actions taken to address them.
- Competency-related Non-Conformities: Maintain records of any identified non-conformities related to competency, along with the corrective and preventive actions taken to prevent recurrences.
- Competency-related Audits and Inspections: Document the results of audits and inspections related to competency and the implementation of corrective actions.
- Competency-related Communication with Regulatory Authorities: If required, maintain records of communication with regulatory authorities regarding competency-related matters.
- Records of Competency Development Progress: Maintain records that track the progress of workers in acquiring and maintaining competencies, especially as it relates to hazard identification and OH&S.
Example of Competency plan
Objective: The objective of this competency plan is to ensure that our Occupational Health and Safety Specialists have the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to effectively identify hazards, assess risks, and implement safety measures to maintain a safe working environment.
Employee Name: [Employee’s Name]
Position: Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Review Period: [Date]
- Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment:
- Ability to identify potential workplace hazards.
- Proficiency in assessing the risks associated with identified hazards.
- Knowledge of risk assessment methodologies.
- Safety Regulations and Standards:
- Understanding of local, state, and national OH&S regulations.
- Familiarity with industry-specific safety standards.
- Emergency Response:
- Capability to respond effectively to workplace emergencies.
- Knowledge of evacuation procedures, first aid, and emergency equipment.
- Communication and Reporting:
- Strong communication skills for reporting hazards, incidents, and near misses.
- Ability to communicate safety guidelines and procedures to employees.
- Training and Education:
- Continuous learning and professional development related to OH&S.
- Keeping up-to-date with industry best practices.
Competency Development Plan:
Training and Education:
- [Date]: Complete an accredited OH&S training course covering hazard identification, risk assessment, and safety regulations.
- [Date]: Attend a workshop on emergency response procedures and first aid certification.
- [Date]: Participate in ongoing professional development courses related to OH&S.
- [Date]: Shadow an experienced OH&S Specialist to gain practical experience in hazard identification and risk assessment.
- [Date]: Participate in hazard identification and risk assessment exercises as part of a team.
- [Date]: Lead a hazard identification and risk assessment project under supervision.
Mentoring and Coaching:
- [Date]: Be assigned a mentor from the senior OH&S team to provide guidance and support.
- [Date]: Regularly meet with the mentor to discuss progress and address questions or challenges.
- [Date]: Conduct peer coaching sessions with colleagues to enhance hazard identification skills.
Certification and Qualifications:
- [Date]: Obtain a recognized OH&S certification, such as [Certification Name].
- [Date]: Attend advanced courses in emergency response and safety management.
- [Date]: Conduct a performance review to assess competency development progress.
- [Date]: Review performance evaluations and identify areas for improvement.
Feedback and Continuous Improvement:
- Solicit feedback from colleagues and supervisors regarding competency development.
- Use feedback to make necessary adjustments to the competency development plan.
Documentation and Records:
- Maintain records of completed training, certifications, and competency assessments.
- Regularly update the competency plan based on progress and changing job requirements.
Review and Monitoring:
- Review the competency plan annually to ensure alignment with organizational needs.
- Continuously monitor safety performance metrics to gauge the effectiveness of competency development efforts.