6.2 OH&S Objectives and Planning to Achieve Them [ISO 45001 Procedure]

6.2.1 Occupational Health & Safety Objectives

An effectively implemented health and safety management system aligns the policies with strategic and management system objectives, and provides the framework upon which to translate these objectives into functional targets.


The goal-oriented framework allows the goals established at the uppermost levels of the organization to flow down through the health and safety management system to influence functional and personal objectives and targets.

Step 1: Write your Health and Safety Objectives and Targets

Establish and maintain documented health and safety objectives and targets, at each relevant function and level within the organization.

The health and safety objectives and targets establish an important link between the health and safety policies and the management programmes designed to achieve them.

The health and safety objectives and targets must be consistent with the health and safety policies. Depending on the size, management structure, and other factors pertaining to your organization, the objectives may be established and reviewed by various personnel and with direct top management input.

Auditors will expect to review a set of interrelated health and safety objectives, ensuring that they are mutually consistent and that they are aligned with the strategic direction of your organization. Documented information of objectives typically is in the form of a description or matrix of the objective and corresponding means and timeframe to achieve the objectives.

Your organization will need to set their health and safety objectives for relevant functions, levels and processes within its OH&S Management System. It is for your organization to decide which functions, levels and processes are relevant.


Scope of Objectives

The scope and number of the objectives and targets must be realistic and achievable. Otherwise, the success and continued commitment from top management and employees will diminish.

Consider the factors below, as you begin to formulate your objectives:

  • Legal and other requirements
  • Significant hazards (hazards directly related to risks)
  • Financial, operational, and business requirements
  • Views of interested parties

Step 2: Monitor the Objectives

A key addition is the use of indicators to monitor the achievement of health and safety objectives. Indicators are defined as a measurable representation of the status of operations, management or conditions. Each objective will need one or more associated indicators.

Health and safety objectives can apply to an entire organization, can be site-specific, or can be specific to individual activities. The appropriate level(s) of management personnel should define the objectives and targets. In some cases, personnel who set objectives may not be the same as those who set targets. Remember that the objectives are the overall goals as reflected in the principles established in the policy.

Step 3: Achieving the Objectives - Management Improvement Programme

Organizations are required to establish and maintain one or more management improvement programmes for achieving their objectives. The management improvement programme is a key element to the success of the OH&S Management System.

Properly designed and implemented, management programmes should achieve the objectives and, consequently, improve your organization’s performance.

The management programme must:

  • Address each objective and target
  • Designate the personnel responsible for achieving targets at each relevant function/level of the organization
  • Provide an action plan describing how each target will be achieved
  • Establish a time-frame or a schedule for achieving each target

The setting of health and safety objectives and targets should involve people from the relevant functional area(s). These people are well positioned to help establish, plan for, and achieve these targets. The involvement of people helps to build commitment and demonstrates positive leadership.

  1. Get Top management buy-into the health and safety objectives. This ensures that adequate resources are applied and that the objectives are integrated with other organizational goals
  2. In communicating objectives to employees, try to link the objectives to the actual improvements being sought, e.g.; reducing nonconformances and closing out corrective actions, as this will give people something tangible to work towards
  3. The health and safety objectives must be consistent with the overall mission/plan and the key commitments established by your health and safety policy
  4. Be flexible with your objectives, define the desired result, then let the people responsible determine how to achieve the result
  5. Objectives can be established to maintain current levels of performance, or to improve performance
  6. Communicate your progress in achieving objectives and targets across the organization. Consider regular reports on this progress at staff meetings
  7. How many objectives and targets should an organization have? Various OH&S Management System implementation projects for small and medium-sized organizations indicate that it is best to start with a limited number of objectives (say, three to five) and then expand the list over time
  8. Keep your health and safety objectives simple initially, gain some early successes, and then build on them
  9. Keep in mind that your suppliers (of services or materials) can help you in meeting your objectives and targets (e.g.; on-time-delivery)

Ensure that your organization has identified both internal and external issues and interested parties that are relevant and which support the strategic direction of your organization. The strategic direction must be utilized as an input to the policy, objectives, risk management, monitoring and measurement, and management review processes.

example objective

Example Objectives

The table below shows how aspirational statements can be taken from your health and safety policy and linked to the related objective(s). The table also provides ideas for SPIs and targets that in turn may be used to measure the achievement of each objective.

H&S Policy Statement

H&S Objective

Types of Indicator/SPI

Possible Targets

‘Zero harm to workers’

Reduce lost-time incidents

Incident rates and trends

Efficiency of emergency response procedures

Incident rate 2.5% below industry average per year

Risk-assessments carried out v number of processes or tasks

All critical processes by Q3

‘Reduce usage of hazardous chemicals’

Increase use of non-hazardous chemicals

Amount of hazardous chemicals used versus usage of non-hazardous chemicals

Reduce use of high-VOC paints by 25% by January 2023

‘In the event of a serious incident, we will restore full operation in the quickest possible time’

Maintain a high level of system reliability

Time system is down during regular work hours

Systems downtime < 5% during working hours

Maintain the ability to recover the systems in the event of a disaster

Time taken to recover from incident (conduct annual or bi-annual test)

Recover system operation within 6 hours of an incident

‘Commitment to training and OHS awareness’

All workers to receive OH&S inductions and specific safety training

Number employees trained per quarter v total planned

All safety critical workers trained by Q3

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Safety Objectives & Indicators Procedure

The purpose of this procedure is to establish how your organization implements and maintains its health and safety objectives, targets, indicators and relevant management programmes that are consistent with our safety policies, and whose achievement demonstrates continual improvement.

This procedure helps to ensure that our safety objectives are practical, achievable, reviewed and communicated to staff.


Forms & Reports also included:

  • Safety Objectives & Indicators Process Turtle Diagram
  • Register of Safety Objectives & SPIs
  • Safety Objectives Programme
  • Risk & Opportunity Register
  • Hazard Identification Register

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