ISO 45001:2018 Clause 8.1.2 Eliminating hazards and reducing OH&S risks

ISO 45001:2018 Requirement

The organization shall establish, implement and maintain a process(es) for the elimination of hazards and reduction of OH&S risks using the following hierarchy of controls:
a) eliminate the hazard;
b) substitute with less hazardous processes, operations, materials or equipment;
c) use engineering controls and reorganization of work;
d) use administrative controls, including training;
e) use adequate personal protective equipment.
NOTE In many countries, legal requirements and other requirements include the requirement that personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided at no cost to workers.

As per Annex A (Guidance on the use of ISO 45001:2018 standard) of ISO 45001:2018 standard it further explains

The hierarchy of controls is intended to provide a systematic approach to enhance occupational health and safety, eliminate hazards, and reduce or control OH&S risks. Each control is considered less effective than the one before it. It is usual to combine several controls in order to succeed in reducing the OH&S risks to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable.
The following examples are given to illustrate measures that can be implemented at each level.
a) Elimination: removing the hazard; stopping using hazardous chemicals; applying ergonomics approaches when planning new workplaces; eliminating monotonous work or work that causes negative stress; removing fork-lift trucks from an area.
b) Substitution: replacing the hazardous with less hazardous; changing to answering customer complaints with online guidance; combating OH&S risks at source; adapting to technical progress (e.g. replacing solvent-based paint by water-based paint; changing slippery floor material; lowering
voltage requirements for equipment).
c) Engineering controls, reorganization of work, or both: isolating people from hazard; implementing collective protective measures (e.g. isolation, machine guarding, ventilation systems); addressing mechanical handling; reducing noise; protecting against falls from height by using guard rails; reorganizing work to avoid people working alone, unhealthy work hours and workload, or to prevent victimization.
d) Administrative controls including training: conducting periodic safety equipment inspections; conducting training to prevent bullying and harassment; managing health and safety coordination with subcontractors’ activities; conducting induction training; administrating forklift driving licences; providing instructions on how to report incidents, nonconformities and victimization without fear of retribution; changing the work patterns (e.g. shifts) of workers; managing a health or medical surveillance programme for workers who have been identified as at risk (e.g. related to hearing, hand-arm vibration, respiratory disorders, skin disorders or exposure); giving appropriate instructions to workers (e.g. entry control processes).
e) Personal protective equipment (PPE): providing adequate PPE, including clothing and instructions for PPE utilization and maintenance (e.g. safety shoes, safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves).

Establishing, implementing, and maintaining processes for the elimination of hazards and the reduction of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) risks are fundamental aspects of an effective OH&S Management System. These processes aim to protect the health and safety of workers and prevent workplace accidents and illnesses. Here are the key steps involved in establishing and maintaining such processes:

  • Establish a Strong OH&S Management System: Develop and implement a comprehensive OH&S Management System (e.g., based on ISO 45001) that outlines policies, procedures, and responsibilities for managing OH&S risks.
  • Commitment from Top Management: Ensure that senior management demonstrates a strong commitment to OH&S by setting clear objectives, providing resources, and actively participating in safety initiatives.
  • Hazard Identification: Implement processes for identifying workplace hazards. Encourage employees to report hazards and near misses. Conduct regular hazard assessments, including workplace inspections, job hazard analyses, and safety audits.
  • Risk Assessment: Assess the risks associated with identified hazards. Evaluate the severity, likelihood, and potential consequences of each risk. Prioritize risks based on their level of risk (e.g., high, medium, low).
  • Hierarchy of Controls: Follow the hierarchy of controls, which prioritizes control measures in this order: Elimination, Substitution, Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Elimination and Substitution: Prioritize the elimination or substitution of hazards whenever possible. Remove the hazard entirely or replace it with a safer alternative. Continually seek ways to redesign processes, equipment, or materials to eliminate hazards.
  • Engineering Controls: Implement engineering controls to isolate or minimize hazards. Examples include machine guards, ventilation systems, and ergonomic improvements in workstation design.
  • Administrative Controls: Establish administrative controls, such as safe work procedures, training programs, and work schedules, to reduce risks and ensure safe work practices.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): When hazards cannot be eliminated or adequately controlled through other means, provide appropriate PPE to employees. Ensure that employees receive training on the proper selection, use, maintenance, and limitations of PPE.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Develop and maintain emergency response plans and procedures to address potential incidents and minimize their impact on workers. Conduct drills and exercises to test the effectiveness of emergency response measures.
  • Training and Competence: Provide comprehensive training to employees on hazard recognition, risk assessment, safe work practices, and emergency procedures. Ensure that employees are competent in implementing control measures and responding to emergencies.
  • Monitoring and Review: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of control measures. Conduct periodic OH&S audits and inspections to identify new hazards and assess the performance of existing controls.
  • Incident Reporting and Investigation: Establish a robust system for reporting incidents, near misses, and hazardous conditions. Investigate incidents to identify root causes and develop corrective and preventive actions.
  • Documentation and Records: Maintain clear and organized records of hazard assessments, risk assessments, control measures, incident reports, training records, and audit findings.
  • Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging employees to report hazards and suggest improvements to OH&S processes. Use data and feedback to make informed decisions for enhancing safety measures.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure that all hazard elimination and risk reduction activities comply with applicable OH&S laws, regulations, and standards.
  • Management Review: Include hazard elimination and risk reduction as part of management reviews to assess the overall effectiveness of the OH&S Management System.
  • Employee Involvement: Involve employees at all levels in hazard identification, risk assessments, and the development of control measures. Employees are often the best source of knowledge about workplace hazards.

By systematically implementing these measures and continuously monitoring and improving the OH&S Management System, an organization can work toward the elimination of hazards and the reduction of OH&S risks to ensure a safer and healthier workplace for its employees.The hierarchy of controls is a widely recognized framework for managing occupational health and safety (OH&S) risks. It provides a structured approach to prioritize control measures based on their effectiveness in reducing or eliminating hazards. The hierarchy of controls typically includes the following elements, listed in order of priority from most effective to least effective:

  1. Eliminate the Hazard: The most effective control measure is to eliminate the hazard entirely. This means finding ways to redesign processes, operations, or tasks in a way that removes the hazard from the workplace. If the hazard no longer exists, there is no risk to control.
  2. Substitute with Less Hazardous Processes, Operations, Materials, or Equipment: If it’s not possible to eliminate the hazard, the next best approach is to substitute it with something less hazardous. This involves replacing a hazardous material, process, or equipment with a safer alternative. Substitution aims to reduce the inherent risk.
  3. Use Engineering Controls and Reorganization of Work: Engineering controls involve modifying the physical environment or processes to reduce or control the hazard. This may include installing safety guards, ventilation systems, or automated equipment. Reorganizing work processes can also help mitigate risk by reducing exposure to hazards.
  4. Use Administrative Controls, Including Training: Administrative controls are measures that focus on changing the way people work and interact with hazards. These controls include implementing safe work procedures, training employees, providing clear instructions, and establishing work schedules to minimize exposure to hazards.
  5. Use Adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense when other control measures are not feasible or sufficient. PPE includes items like helmets, gloves, goggles, and respirators. PPE is used to protect workers from specific hazards when all other measures have been exhausted.

It’s important to note that the goal is to start at the top of the hierarchy (elimination or substitution) and work your way down as needed. The lower levels (engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE) should be considered when the higher-level controls are not feasible or fully effective.The hierarchy of controls is a flexible framework that allows organizations to tailor their OH&S risk management strategies to specific hazards and situations. The goal is to prioritize control measures that provide the greatest protection to workers and reduce the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses.

In many countries, legal requirements and other requirements include the requirement that personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided at no cost to workers.

In many countries, legal requirements and other regulations related to occupational health and safety (OH&S) mandate that employers provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers at no cost. This requirement is established to ensure that workers have access to the necessary PPE to protect themselves from workplace hazards without incurring personal expenses. Here are key points regarding this requirement:

  1. Legal Obligation: Occupational health and safety laws in many countries, regions, and jurisdictions stipulate that employers must provide PPE to their employees as part of their duty to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
  2. No Cost to Workers: These legal requirements often specify that the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and replacing PPE should be borne by the employer, and workers should not be charged for the PPE provided.
  3. Types of PPE: PPE encompasses various types of equipment, including safety helmets, gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection, respiratory protection, protective clothing, and more, depending on the nature of the workplace hazards.
  4. Fit for Purpose: Employers are responsible for ensuring that the provided PPE is appropriate for the specific workplace hazards and job tasks. PPE should be selected based on a risk assessment and the nature of the work.
  5. Training and Maintenance: Employers should also provide training to workers on the proper use, care, and maintenance of PPE to ensure its effectiveness and longevity.
  6. Replacement and Repairs: If PPE becomes damaged, ineffective, or reaches the end of its service life, employers are typically responsible for replacing it or making necessary repairs.
  7. Recordkeeping: Employers may be required to maintain records related to the provision, use, and maintenance of PPE to demonstrate compliance with OH&S regulations.
  8. Worker Involvement: In many jurisdictions, workers and their representatives have a right to be involved in the selection, evaluation, and use of PPE. Their input is valuable in ensuring that PPE is suitable and comfortable for the workforce.

It’s important for employers to be aware of and comply with the specific OH&S regulations in their region or country regarding PPE. Failing to provide PPE at no cost or ensuring its proper use can result in legal consequences, including fines and penalties, as well as increased workplace injuries and illnesses.Employers should prioritize the safety and well-being of their workers by not only providing appropriate PPE but also by fostering a safety culture that encourages PPE use and compliance with safety guidelines and regulations.

Examples of processes for the elimination of hazards and reduction of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) risks using the hierarchy of controls:

Hazard: Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

  1. Elimination: Process Modification
    • Identify the hazardous chemicals used in the workplace.
    • Explore alternative processes or materials that do not involve the use of these chemicals.
    • Implement a substitution process that replaces hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives.
  2. Substitution: Material Replacement
    • Identify a less hazardous chemical that can perform the same function.
    • Replace the hazardous chemical with the safer alternative.
    • Ensure that employees are trained in handling the new material safely.
  3. Engineering Controls: Process Redesign
    • Install a ventilation system to control chemical fumes and vapors.
    • Use enclosed systems, such as fume hoods or glove boxes, to contain the chemicals during use.
    • Implement automated processes to minimize direct contact with chemicals.
  4. Administrative Controls: Safe Work Procedures
    • Develop and document safe work procedures for handling hazardous chemicals.
    • Establish a clear process for labeling, storing, and disposing of chemicals.
    • Provide training to employees on chemical safety and emergency response.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Last Resort
    • Provide employees with appropriate PPE, such as chemical-resistant gloves, goggles, and respirators.
    • Ensure that PPE is readily available and properly maintained.
    • Train employees on the correct use, maintenance, and limitations of PPE.

Hazard: Machinery Hazards

  1. Elimination: Automation
    • Assess the need for manual operations that involve machinery.
    • Explore automation options to replace manual tasks.
    • Implement robotic or automated systems to perform hazardous tasks.
  2. Substitution: Equipment Replacement
    • Identify machinery with inherent safety features, such as machine guarding.
    • Replace older, unsafe machinery with newer, safer models.
    • Ensure that equipment meets recognized safety standards.
  3. Engineering Controls: Guarding and Interlocks
    • Install machine guards to prevent access to moving parts.
    • Use interlock systems that shut down machinery when guards are opened.
    • Implement emergency stop buttons for immediate shutdown in emergencies.
  4. Administrative Controls: Training and Procedures
    • Develop and enforce standard operating procedures for machine use.
    • Conduct training on machine safety, including lockout/tagout procedures.
    • Establish clear protocols for reporting and addressing equipment malfunctions.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Limited Application
    • Provide PPE, such as safety glasses or hearing protection, for situations where engineering controls and administrative controls are insufficient.
    • Ensure that PPE is readily available and employees are trained in its use.

Documents requirements

Here are some of the typical documents and records that organizations often maintain to demonstrate compliance with Clause 8.1.2:

  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Records: Records of identified hazards in the workplace, including their nature, location, and potential risks. Documentation of the risk assessment process, including the criteria used for risk assessment, risk ratings, and prioritization of risks.
  • Risk Control Plans: Documentation outlining control measures and actions to eliminate or reduce identified hazards and associated risks. Records of the selection of control measures, including engineering controls, administrative controls, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Safe Work Procedures: Written procedures that describe how specific tasks or activities should be carried out safely, taking into account the identified hazards and control measures.
  • Records of Employee Training and Competence: Documentation of training programs provided to employees regarding hazard identification, risk assessment, and safe work practices. Records of employee competence assessments related to OH&S responsibilities.
  • Incident Reports and Investigations: Records of incidents, accidents, near misses, and hazardous conditions, along with incident investigation reports and corrective/preventive actions taken to address identified issues.
  • Change Management Records: Documentation of changes to processes, equipment, materials, or procedures that could impact safety. This includes change requests, assessments, approvals, and implementation plans.
  • Documentation of Performance Reviews:Records of performance reviews related to hazard identification, risk assessment, and risk control measures. This may include minutes of meetings, decisions made, and action plans.
  • Communication Records: Documentation of internal and external communication related to hazard identification, risk assessment, and risk control, including records of meetings, notifications, and safety bulletins.
  • Records of Consultation with Workers:Records of meetings and consultations with workers and their representatives specifically regarding hazard identification, risk assessment, and risk control activities.

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