In order to provide suitable evidence of top management involvement and engagement, documented information must be provided, along with actions assigned as appropriate.
The following list provides some actions that may be considered as objective evidence to demonstrate that top management are undertaking effective leadership, commitment and accountability:
- Establishing the organisation’s mission, vision and values, considering its context, the needs and expectations of its relevant interested parties, and business objectives. These may be documented in the company’s strategic business plans.
- Writing the OH&S Policy (not just signing it off).
- Establishing and documenting the OH&S objectives in line with the strategic/business objectives.
- Discussing OH&S at senior management and board meetings to demonstrate it is entrenched in the organisation’s business process. Records of such meeting should be maintained.
- Active involvement in the review of the organisation’s OH&S, at planned intervals, with minutes including detailed information of who was present, what was discussed, and action points agreed.
- Identifying adequate resources to establish, implement, maintain and improve the OH&S system. An organisational chart should be documented identifying the persons responsible for the management of OH&S. Job descriptions should also be defined, documented and signed-off.
- Adding OH&S as an agenda item to company-wide meetings.
- Communicating the status of the OH&S management system (recent success, what needs improvement, lessons learned, etc.) via newsletters, internal communication platforms, posters, etc.
- Committing senior management to demonstrate leadership with respect to OH&S. Senior management may need training on the Standard to understand their roles with respect to OH&S. If workers observe top management taking OH&S responsibility seriously this will greatly assist in the establishment of a positive OH&S culture throughout the organisation.
- Ensuring OH&S is a key element of the business’ strategic training plan.
- Establishing a safety committee.
- Creating and maintaining an organisational culture that protects works from reprisals when reporting incidents, hazards, risks and opportunities. Perhaps, institute a reward scheme for effective OH&S performance.
- Reviewing the findings of internal audits to ensure that the OH&S management system achieves its intended outcome.
The above elements provide a general set of practical measures of top management involvement. These will differ from organisation to organisation depending on size, structure and activities. It is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea of the expectations that ISO 45001 places on top management. In conclusion, the organisation is in a better position to achieve its OH&S objectives and to identify opportunities for improvement when top management creates a culture that encourages people, at all levels, to actively participate in the OH&S management system.