AS 4801 - Assurance Program

AS/NZS 4801 has been replaced by ISO 45001, the new ISO Standard for Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Management Systems

Attributes

Name:

AS 4801 Assurance Program

Criteria:

AS 4801 and Client Charter

Market:

All organisations

Scope:

International

Output:

Validity:

Certificate of Confidence

3 years, subject to on-going requirements

Certification gives confidence to the organisation, workers and others interested parties in its ability to meet occupational health and safety requirements aimed at eliminating work-related injury and illness.

Outcome:

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Adopting a formal approach to your Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management systems

The adoption and implementation of a range of effective occupational health and safety (OHS) management actions in a systematic manner can contribute to optimal outcomes for all interested parties. 


Organizations of all kinds and sizes adopt a systematic approach to managing OHS and develop OHS management systems (OHSMS) within the context of:

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The general growth of concern from all interested parties about OHS matters;

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Changes to legislation; and

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Other measures to foster sustained OHS improvement.

There are many reasons why organizations implement an OHSMS including:

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Legal imperatives;

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to improve financial performance. 

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Ethical concerns;

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Industrial relations considerations; and 

Implementation of an effective OHSMS should, however, primarily lead to a reduction of workplace illness and injury, minimizing the costs associated with workplace accidents.

Formally certify your OHS management systems

OHSMS are also used by some organizations to demonstrate, internally and in some cases externally (via self-­ declaration or independent third-party certification or registration as appropriate), that they are systematically controlling the risks to all persons affected by the organization's activities, products, or services.


For organizations wishing to implement, develop, improve, or in some cases audit an OHSMS, an Australian and new Zealand standard is available - this Standard is the primary Standard relevant to all organizations and provides the framework for implementing, developing and/or improving an OHSMS. 


AS/NZS 4801:2001 ‘Occupational health and safety management systems-Specification with guidance for use’ establishes an audit framework principally for use by third party bodies that have been asked by an organization to conduct an independent audit of the organization's OHSMS. The framework can also be used as a reference point for internal auditing procedures.
Many organizations already undertake internal audits or reviews to assess the effectiveness of their OHSMS. Some organizations may also seek independent third-party assurances that an organization, they are proposing to do business with has effective systems in place to control their OHS. 


To be effective, and to contribute to ongoing improvements in OHS performance, independent audits need to be conducted by competent persons within a structured management system and integrated with overall management activity. 
AS/NZS 4801 specifies the framework against which external auditors will assess an OHSMS Such audits therefore assist an organization to gain assurance that its performance not only meets, but will continue to meet, its ethical, legal and policy requirements.

Suitable for any type of business

The AS4801 standard has been written to be applicable to all types and size of organizations and to be generic enough to accommodate diverse geographical, cultural, and social conditions as weIl as the multiplicity of OHS legal jurisdictions. 
Thus, two organizations conducting similar activities but having different OHSMS and performances may both conform to the requirements established in AS/NZS 4801. However, any effective OHSMS needs to reflect OHS issues in the organization in which it is used.

Senior Management Commitment

The success of an OHSMS depends on commitment from all levels and functions within an organization, especially from senior management. An effective OHSMS can assist an organization to:

Policy

Set out OHS policy and  objectives;

establish

Establish, assess, and review the effectiveness of procedures which give effect to OHS policy and  objectives;

Achieve

Achieve conformance with OHS policy and objectives of the organization; and

    Demonstrate

Demonstrate such  conformance to others (via self-declaration or certification/registration  as appropriate).

Social and Economic Goals

The overall aim of this Standard is to support the achievement of the highest levels of OHS performance through systematic elimination or reduction of risks. AS/NZS 4801 is intended to provide organizations with the elements of an effective OHSMS which can be integrated with other management requirements, to assist organizations to achieve OHS as well as other social and economic goals. 


This Standard is not intended to be used to create trade barriers nor change an organization's legal obligations. It is voluntary, but a useful tool for businesses and governments to use as little or as much as they choose.

Relationship to OHS Legal requirements

Legislation in Australia adopts a risk management approach. Legislation in New Zealand    adopts a hazard management approach. This legislation may also emphasise a preferred order of control method (often called a hierarchy of controls) which should be implemented in the workplace. The various jurisdictions define this hierarchy in different ways. Readers should note this and will need to ensure that the Standard is used to suit compliance requirements in their jurisdictions.


The emphasis in much legislation and in this Standards is for organizations   to develop and implement control actions which wherever possible, eliminate hazards or isolate people from the hazard. Where   this   is   not   possible, work   activities    should   be planned and controlled through administrative means to the extent necessary to prevent injury and illness. To achieve these objectives an organization should encourage the implementation of the best practicable methods and technology consistent with the legal obligations to ensure that workplaces are safe and healthy.

The Standard is Adaptable

The requirements set out in AS/NZS 4801 do not need to be implemented independently of existing OHSMS elements, whether integrated or not. In some cases, existing OHSMS elements will meet the requirements. 


An organisation may elect to continue to use any management system framework, structure or audit tool as required. There may be no need to change an existing OHSMS program or audit framework. AS/NZS 4801 can be applied to any existing OHSMS.

Please note AS/NZS 4801:2001 has migrated to AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018

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