OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 & AIAG

On February 24, 2009 the AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group) issued a formal statement, e-mailed to all of its members, endorsing the implementation of a formal environmental management system (EMS)  based on ISO 14001.   Fortunately, unlike Toyota and some other customers, they stopped short of requiring it of automotive suppliers.  They then went on to discourage the use of OHSAS 18001 as a stand alone occupational health & safety management system (OHSMS).  In the e-mail they state that the AIAG believes “that the management of health & safety under the BSI OHSAS 18001 program is good practice, but less efficient in terms of both cost and time, as compared to managing health & safety as part of an existing management system. This is fundamental to making safety and health integrated within existing management systems and part of the day-to-day business activities.”

As odd as this may seem coming from me, I applaud the AIAG for formally taking this position.  Those of you that have been following this blog and are familiar with my integrated management system philosophy (or Lean BOS)  will note that I have been advocating an integrated approach for over a decade.  It is commendable for the AIAG — a group that propagates and profits from standards and the associated training — to evolve to this level.

Business excellence is more than the successful application of some standards.  It is an organization’s business operating system, leadership, and culture that creates success.  As such, quality, environmental, health, and safety concerns must be managed concurrently with regulatory, customer, employee, and investor concerns.  This cannot be done effectively and efficiently with multiple management systems.  Kudos to the AIAG for recognizing this, at least when it comes to ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Kirill Liberman, President

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