The road to AS 4801 OHS certification


Benefits of an OHSMS

  • helping create safer work environments
  • reducing injuries and injury-related costs – by pre-empting injuries, employers save money on medical expenses, the injured employee’s wages, insurance claim excesses, replacement labour and increased workers’ compensation insurance premiums
  • improving business opportunities – many companies have preferential purchasing policies that favour purchasing products or services from companies with an OHSMS
  • providing measurable systems that can verify OHS performance
  • demonstrating you are meeting legal requirements
  • meet moral requirements as leaders – how would you feel if there was a workplace death, and you hadn’t been doing everything possible to prevent incidents?
  • enhancing the organisation’s reputation
  • worlds best practice and benchmarking

Research shows that there are clear links between good OHS management systems and long-term business efficiency.

ABS – 2000 – 2006

Sedentary v High Risk Industries

Decrease in incidents – those forced to implement OHS system (High Risk)

Increase in incidents – sedentary occupations

Avoid Penalties against the OHS Act
Penalties for breaches of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004 were substantially increased. The maximum penalties are now $943,290* for companies and $188,658* for individuals.

26(1) Person who manages or controls a workplace failing to ensure the workplace is safe. $188,658 – individual $943,290 – body corporate Indictable offence triable summarily


Commitment form all levels and functions, especially senior management

Enable achievement of the highest levels of OHS Performance

  • Sets out OHS policy and objectives
  • Establishes, assesses and reviews the effectiveness of procedures
  • Achieves conformance with the OHS policy and objectives
  • Demonstrates conformance to others

OHS Policy

OHS Plan


Measurement and Evaluation


Continuous Improvement


Gap Analysis

Developing and Implementation Plan

Allocating and auditing against responsibilities

Building on / refining current system

Training / Meetings / Tracking the Plan / culture building activities

Preparing documentation for audits


Policy is there, procedures are there –

Do they cover all areas required by AS 4801?

  • A plan – Set targets / allocated responsibilities
  • Measuring success PPIs
  • Audits – Internal / External
  • Procedural implementation
  • Are they implemented?
  • Are people working under procedures, if not why not
  • Do they know what they are
  • Are they practical
  • Ultimately: Cultural change – like seatbelts


The change in culture that we want to bring about will be defined by;

Reporting Culture –
where staff and contactors seek to report unsafe conditions, near misses and any concerns they have about safety.
encourage to report the good with the bad.
Just Culture –
where people promote safety rather than allocating blame or punishment for reporting errors (incidents / near misses / safety breaches)
Learning Culture –
a Learning Culture will allow people to understand and comfortably question safety procedures and requirements
Think Safety Culture –
The first thought before starting a new task – is this safe, what do we need to do to make this safe, we are not starting until it is
All in this together Culture –
Everyone cares for each others safety and understands the role they play. Top to bottom.
Leading by Example Culture –
Critical leaders are identified, OHS competencies known and measured, practice what they preach


18 months – 2 years for AS4801

Milestone half way – SafetyMAP Initial Level?

6 thoughts on “The road to AS 4801 OHS certification

  1. One important benefit not included in your opening paragraph – Improve business performance.

    Good safety management is good business management. Not only for the reasons noted (e.g. reduced costs) but also because OHS is often an easy introduction to risk management and running a successful organisation is all about risk management.

  2. Sorry for taking so long to reply! Just saw this unanswered comment. I believe that a well implemented OHS management system drives a good safety culture. They are two different things, but cannot exist in isolation. It is an important element of the OHS management system to ensure positive safety culture is measured along the way and that health and safety activities planned aim at improving that culture. For example, employees need to feel compelled to report hazards and incidents. Workers need to feel valued and positive about representing others on OHS matters.

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