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CoreAdvantage’s Approach to Safety and Health Management

A Safety & Health Change Process can drive positive organizational change. Worker safety and health is one of the few areas that all levels in your organization place high value. Thus, a change process for S&H possesses the unique quality of being able to create the needed buy-in for large-scale positive change.

Through leadership and empowerment, you can eliminate injuries and illnesses and add the savings to your bottom line. Frontline employees can be empowered to find ways to make their jobs safer, easier, more comfortable, thus more productive.

Where is your organization focused - regulatory compliance, S&H management systems, culture or behavior? A regulatory focus is limiting. Compliance today does not guarantee tomorrow’s compliance. Without an S&H management system you will always be at jeopardy of being out of compliance in the future. There are excellent S&H management systems available to pick from (VPP, ANSI, ILO, BS8800, BSI OHSAS 18001 to name a few). The important thing is to leverage from existing systems. Integrate your S&H process with your existing core business process. Don’t just add a stand-alone system.

If your vision is to eliminate injuries and illnesses, you need a system that involves all levels within your organization, one that continuously improves, and eliminates barriers by focusing on your organizational culture, behavior and safety management system.

Culture or behavior; which comes first? At CoreAdvantageSM we believe that culture and behavior develop on parallel tracks. Without addressing the organizational barriers in your culture, changing behavior is difficult to impossible to sustain. Culture and behavior go hand and hand and support one another. As one improves the other does likewise. They are not mutually exclusive. Driving positive change in both areas will result in far greater performance improvement than by one single approach.

To build and sustain a world-class operation, all four areas, physical S&H conditions, management systems, culture and behavior must be addressed in an integrated fashion. Doing so not only delivers world-class safety and health performance but will also drive world-class performance throughout your entire business.

Are you ready to create exciting results?

Programs vs. Systems

What is the difference between an Safety and Health Management System, SHMS, approach and a Safety Program? The distinction as used here is, a program operates in isolation by itself. The focus is typically on compliance with a specific regulation. Programs also lack strong, if any, feedback or evaluation mechanisms, which then limits their continuous improvement over time.

Conversely, a systems approach, while not losing sight of programmatic requirements, is broader in scope and addresses many other issues such as the quality of the S&H performance, integration with other business systems, and focuses on S&H improvement. A key distinction of a systems approach is that there are clear feedback and evaluation mechanisms so that the system responds to both internal and external events.

In this context, an example of an S&H program would be a lock-out-tag-out program aimed at complying with OSHA’s lockout standard. A systems approach integrates all of the individual programs within the business operations, and is thus more comprehensive than any single program. One of the advantages to an S&H systems approach is the resolution of the common criticism that safety is rarely integrated into business systems but rather is typically a stand-alone adjunct. Systems also allow for the alignment of S&H objectives with the broader business objectives thus minimizing potentially competing interests for priority and resources.

As discussed above, a number of S&H Management systems have been recommended, proposed or legislated in recent years. The following represents a list of the more common:

  • OSHA’s VPP
  • ANSI Z10
  • Chemical Industries Association, Responsible Care;
  • American Industrial Hygiene Association’s OHSMS guidance document.
  • British OHSMS, BS 8800;
  • ILO’s OHSMS standard
  • Australia SafetyMap;
  • Australia/ New Zealand OHSMS guidance OHSMS, AS/NZS 4804; and,
  • British Standards Institute BSI OHSAS – 18001

ISO 9000 and 14001 standards are considered strong auditable standards, however, strictly speaking they are not an SHMS, even though many organizations are using them as a templates for SHMS development.


OSHA established the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) in 1983 in order to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. The VPP SHMS model is comprise 4 major elements and 36 sub-elements:

  • Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
  • Worksite Analysis
  • Hazard Prevention and Control
  • Training

ANSI Z10 was published in 2005. It consists of 7 elements and 32 sub-elements. A side by side comparison of VPP and ANSI Z10 will revel more similarities than differences. The major difference is ANSI contains risk based sub-elements where VPP relies on hazard analysis. A major advantage of VPP is the 3rd party review and certification (OSHA).

Some professionals have argued that VPP is not a SHMS because it lacks clear guidelines that require compliance with OSHA regulations and does not specifically require and spell out feedback loops to drive continuous improvement. The counter position points out that the OSHA Act requires compliance and OSHA did not have to restate it. Likewise there are many natural feedback loops in the VPP model that during certification OSHA requires being present.

For more information on the VPP you can contact us or visit the OSHA website