Taking the Next Step

Continuous improvement is the goal of any Occupational Health Safety Management System.  View the additional resources the CCSA has for each element to assist with your continuous improvement. We gather and vet our resources from industry safety leaders across Alberta.

Element 1: Management Leadership and Organizational Commitment

Management commitment and leadership is the essential foundation for a successful occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS).  Management and employees working cooperatively together is required for a health and safety system to succeed.

  • Does your OHS Policy meet legislation?
  • Do your job descriptions list OHS responsibilities?
  • Does your performance management process address safety performance?
  • Do you have progressive discipline if employees don’t follow safety processes?

Element 2: Hazard Assessment

A formal hazard assessment takes a close look at the overall operations of an organization to identify hazards, measure risk (to help prioritize hazards), and develop, implement and monitor related controls. Worker jobs or types of work are broken down into separate tasks. Formal hazard assessments are detailed, can involve many people, and will require time to complete.

A site-specific hazard assessment (also called field-level) is performed before work starts at a site and at a site where conditions change or when non-routine work is added. This flags hazards identified at the location (e.g. poor lighting, wet surfaces, extreme temperatures, unknown persons), or introduced by a change at the work site (e.g.  unfamiliar chemicals, introduction of new equipment).  Any hazards identified are to be eliminated or controlled right away, before work begins or continues.

  • Does your Hazard Assessment policy meet legislation?
  • Do your hazard assessments templates meet best practice standards?
  • Does your hazard reporting policy address worker reporting?
  • What reporting forms does your organization use for workers to report hazards?

Element 3: Hazard Control

If an identified hazard cannot be eliminated, controls are implemented to reduce the risk of the hazard.  Implementation of hazard controls will result in the reduction of incidents.  Three methods of control are: Engineering (i.e. elimination, substitution, guards, ventilation, sound barriers, etc.); Administrative (i.e. safe work practices, job procedures, job rotation, training, etc.); Personal Protective Equipment (i.e. eye protection, hearing protection, gloves, masks or face shields, etc.).

  • Have you addressed creating a workplace free from violence and harassment?
  • Violence policy and harassment policy meet legislation?
  • Violence prevention plans and harassment prevention plan meet legislation?
  • How are reports of harassment and bullying made?
  • What is the process to investigate harassment and bullying incidents?
  • What is the process to investigate violence incidents?
  • How are staffs’ competency of the use of controls measured?

Element 4: Health and Safety Committee and/or Representative

Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committees are a key element of the internal responsibility system. It brings work site parties together to work on topics such as hazard identification and control, investigation of health and safety incidents, and responding to reports of dangerous work. If the employer has 1-4 employees as determined through the audit scope, this element may be marked not applicable.

  • Do you have a HSC policy or HSR policy
  • Does your HSC have a TOR that meets legislative compliance?
  • Does your HSC ensure that they cover all health and safety issues as part of the meeting?
  • Does your HSC have a method to self-evaluate its effectiveness?
  • How does your HSC escalate concerns and make recommendations to the employer?

Element 5: Qualifications, Orientation and Training

Qualifications, orientations and training are essential to ensure employees perform their job tasks in a safe and healthy manner. An employer is responsible to ensure the employee is competent.

  • Does your general orientation program address all critical safety information?
  • How do departments ensure department specific training?
  • Once training is completed does your organization assess competency?

Element 6: Other Work Site Parties

Other employers, and/or self-employed persons, visitors, and external worksite parties must be included in the employer’s health and safety management system.

  • Does your Other work site parties policy meet legislation?
  • How does your organization monitor other work site parties?
  • Does your organization have a non-compliance process for other work site parties?
  • Do all work site parties that come to site  receive a general orientation?

Element 7: Inspections

The formal inspection process can proactively identify new potential hazards, as well as confirm the effectiveness of controls already in place.

  • Does your work site inspection policy meet legislation and best practice?
  • Worksite inspection checklists cover all areas and not only conditions but behaviours?
  • When inspections are complete how are inspection results communicated?

Element 8: Emergency Response

An emergency response plan helps ensure appropriate and efficient actions will take place in the event of an emergency or disaster.

  • Do you ensure your first aid kit is full and ready for use?
  • Are you ready for the next pandemic with a pandemic plan? 
  • How does your staff practice the emergency drills?
  • Do you have emergency response posters to communicate with staff?

Element 9: Incident Investigation

Investigations determine the cause(s) of an incident, and the corrective action(s) required to prevent a recurrence.

  • Does your incident policy ensure all incidents are reported and investigated as indicated in legislation?
  • Does your incident reporting form meet requirements set out in the OHS Code Part 11?
  • How do employees report dangerous work?
  • Does your investigation process address root cause?
  • Following a significant situation is there a debriefing for staff?

Element 10: System Administration

System administration provides an evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS). 

  • Is there a systematic process your organization uses to review the health and safety program?
  • After a health and safety program review how are improvement plans made?
  • Are incidents tracked to identify trends in your organization?
  • How does your organization measure the safety culture within facilities and departments?

What's Next?

What are the additional program elements you should consider?


NewsLetter Sign-up

Yes. Sign Me Up!

The CCSA is devoted to Alberta health and safety. Sign up for the CCSA communications to stay up-to-date on:
  • Member news
  • Health and safety news
  • WCB Alberta highlights
  • News and views from CCSA