The Z10 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Standard, which was revised in 2012, provides guidance to safety professionals tasked with implementing safety management systems. The new standard, while requiring management commitment, emphasizes the importance of employee participation and feedback in the safety management process.
The Z10-2012 standard provides safety managers with an outline for an effective safety and health management system. A central theme of Z10 is the concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act and its requirement of continual improvement.
To comply with the standard, your company must establish and implement processes to:
- Identify and Control Hazards in the Design Phase. Your process must require the identification and control of hazards as part of the design process and when changes are made to operations. This requires safety design reviews for new and altered facilities or equipment.
- Identify and Evaluate Hazards and Risks. Your company must have an effective system in place for identifying and evaluating hazards and risks when changes are made in operations.
- Assess the Level of Risk. Your system must be able to assess the level of risk for each identified hazard.
- Utilize a Prescribed Hierarchy of Controls. Your company must require the use of a hierarchy of controls to eliminate or control hazards. The first step in the hierarchy is to attempt to eliminate the hazard by design.
- Avoid Bringing Hazards In. You must incorporate design and material specifications into procurement contracts for facilities, equipment and materials to avoid bringing hazards into your workplace.
Some important provisions of Z10 include:
- Section 3.0 - Management Leadership and Employee Participation. This section requires the full commitment of top management, as well as the participation of employees at all levels to provide feedback.
- Section 4.0 - Planning. This section describes the planning process to implement the standard and establish improvement plans and can be used a road map to help you implement Z10-2012 at your company.
- Section 5.0 - Implementation and Operation. This section defines the operational elements that are required for an effective occupational health and safety management system. These include:
- Risk assessment processes
- Hierarchy of controls for dealing with risks
- Design review and management of change
- Process verification
- Procurement processes
- Emergency preparedness
- Education, training, awareness and competence
- Section 6.0 Evaluation and Corrective Action. The management system must have processes in place to evaluate its performance through monitoring, incident investigations, and audits by competent persons not attached to the location being audited. Your company must also have processes to follow up on corrective actions to ensure that high-risk hazards are corrected immediately and all corrective actions taken are effective and tracked to completion.