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Regulatory reforms introduced in many industrialised countries in the final decades of the 20th century changed the traditional, prescriptive approach to occupational safety and health (OSH) issues and stimulated the development of OSH management.

These changes were inspired by, among other things, the Robens Committee
report prepared in the UK in 1972 (Smith T., Walters D.). According to the report, the promotion of health and safety should be an essential and normal management
function, akin to production or marketing. Numerous research studies and practical
experience confirms that integrating OSH into company management is one of the
main success factors influencing improvements in the safety and health of workers.
The development, implementation and promotion of an integrated, proactive
approach to OSH management in companies has long been supported by policies
and practices established at international, European and national levels, including
strategies, legal provisions, standards, guidelines, programmes and campaigns
initiated and undertaken by different stakeholders such as international organisations, EU bodies, governments, trade unions and employer associations, labour inspectorates and insurance institutions.

There are many advantages resulting from systematic OSH management and the
integration of OSH into the overall business activities. Some of these advantages
(indicated in the ILO working document concerning Guidelines on Occupational
Safety and Health Management Systems, ILO, 2001) include:
alignment of OSH objectives w OO ith business objectives;
OO integration of OSH into business systems;
OO establishment of a logical framework on which to establish an OSH programme;
OO establishment of a universal set of policies, procedures, programmes and goals that can be communicated more effectively;
OO applicability to, and inclusiveness of cultural and country differences;
OO establishment of a continuous improvement framework;
OO providing an auditable baseline for performance measurement.
The improvements in the OSH management system can result in:
OO decreased accident rates and a related increase in productivity;
OO decreased workers’ compensation premiums;
OO better safety culture;
OO i mproved employee perception of the physical and psychosocial working
environment and increased hazard reporting by employees;
OO increased worker participation in safety and health activities;
OO more organisational actions taken on OSH issues.

Auditor Training is likely to be in greater demand as the new standard becomes established. Delegates will benefit from an approved certificate from IOSH to demonstrate that a course has successfully been taken.

Mainstreaming OSH into business management
© European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2010