EcoVadis should not blindly rely on OHSAS 18001 Certificates

This is about certificates for OH&S (Occupational Health & Safety) management systems. EcoVadis accepts them as evidence.

In Germany, a well known CAB (accredited Compliance Assessment Body) of OH&S management systems tolerated for several years a very obvious non compliance of his client with OHSAS 18001:2007. Seemingly the client certified by that CAB did not like the terms in OHSAS 18001:2007 and therefore kept using the terms of OHSAS 18001:1999, which are less demanding. After some years an employee discovered that. The accreditation body DAkkS initiated a re-audit.

In Germany, at least the big CABs protect employers, not employees. The best OHSAS 18001 audits in Europe probably are run in the Netherlands, where the SCCM auditing scheme is applied.

 Bad audits of OH&S managements systems by CABs and by the authorities are a problem for companies like EcoVadis. Certificates provided by accredited CABs simplify their efficiency optimized document audits (remote audits in most cases). But even with well known suppliers and CABs those assessment providers like EcoVadis cannot rely on OHSAS 18001 audits. One way to verify the quality of OHSAS 18001 implementation could be to check, whether assessed suppliers really register and evaluate all incidents defined in clause 3.9 (and clause 3.8) in OHSAS 18001:2007.

OHSAS 18001 Incident Reporting

 Regrettably, EcoVadis tolerates incomplete incident reporting. As for occupational health and safety, EcoVadis only expects reporting on the accident severity rate and the accident frequency rate. That kind of reporting is not the state of the art anymore. EcoVadis allows OHSAS 18001 certified suppliers to get away with incomplete reporting (many of them still keep doing that) although “accident” in OHSAS 18001:1999 for a good reason has been replaced by “incident” in OHSAS 18001:2007. Since 2007, according to clause 3.8 (ill health) and 3.9 (incident) there are twelve kinds of incidents:

12 Incidents in Occupational Health & Safety

In words:
Incidents which …

          … have caused physical ill health
          … have worsened physical ill health
          … could have caused physical ill health
          … could have worsened physical ill health
          … have caused mental ill health
          … have worsened mental ill health
          … could have caused mental ill health
          … could have worsened mental ill health
          … have caused injury
          … could have caused injury
          … have caused fatality
          … could have caused fatality

    Or in other words (strictly following clause 3.8 and clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007):
    Incidents in which …
          … physical ill health occurred
          … physical ill health worsened
          … physical ill health could have occurred
          … physical ill health could have worsened
          … mental ill health occurred
          … mental ill health worsened
          … mental ill health could have occurred
          … mental ill health could have worsened
          … injury occurred
          … injury could have occurred
          … fatality occurred
          … fatality could have occurred

     
    “Incident” and “ill health” according to OHSAS 18001:

    • Incident: Work-related event(s) in which
      • an injury
      • or ill health (regardless of severity)
      • or fatality

      occurred, or could have occurred.

    • Ill health: Identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity and/or work-related situation.