Internal audits of psychosocial risks at workplaces with certified OHS management systems

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Resumé

Psychosocial risks are widely recognized as a major challenge at work, a challenge that most organizations
find difficult to manage in practice. The OHSAS 18001 standard provides a framework for the management
of occupational health and safety risks, including psychosocial risks. However, such
occupational health and safety management (OHSM) systems tend to have difficulties in adequately
addressing psychosocial risks at work. A crucial element in the OHSM system is internal audits. We have
investigated how two Danish municipalities have transformed the general audit guidelines into internal
audit practices capable of targeting the psychosocial risks. The results show that the municipalities experienced
difficulties in transforming the general audit guidelines into practical models, and we found that
this led to significant variations in audit practices. The explanation for these difficulties can be found both
in the nature of the psychosocial risks and in implementation constraints. Compared to traditional safety
audits, auditing psychosocial risks appears to require different methods and auditor competencies, a factor
that the OHSAS 18001 standard does not explicitly take into account. On the basis of our study, we
reach two major conclusions: first, that the standard provides little help in auditing the management
of psychosocial risks in relation to OHSM systems; and second, that the full potential for management
of psychosocial risks cannot be achieved without developing additional methods and auditor competencies
for audits of psychosocial risks.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftSafety Science
Vol/bind84
Sider (fra-til)201-209
ISSN0925-7535
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2016

Citer dette

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title = "Internal audits of psychosocial risks at workplaces with certified OHS management systems",
abstract = "Psychosocial risks are widely recognized as a major challenge at work, a challenge that most organizationsfind difficult to manage in practice. The OHSAS 18001 standard provides a framework for the managementof occupational health and safety risks, including psychosocial risks. However, suchoccupational health and safety management (OHSM) systems tend to have difficulties in adequatelyaddressing psychosocial risks at work. A crucial element in the OHSM system is internal audits. We haveinvestigated how two Danish municipalities have transformed the general audit guidelines into internalaudit practices capable of targeting the psychosocial risks. The results show that the municipalities experienceddifficulties in transforming the general audit guidelines into practical models, and we found thatthis led to significant variations in audit practices. The explanation for these difficulties can be found bothin the nature of the psychosocial risks and in implementation constraints. Compared to traditional safetyaudits, auditing psychosocial risks appears to require different methods and auditor competencies, a factorthat the OHSAS 18001 standard does not explicitly take into account. On the basis of our study, wereach two major conclusions: first, that the standard provides little help in auditing the managementof psychosocial risks in relation to OHSM systems; and second, that the full potential for managementof psychosocial risks cannot be achieved without developing additional methods and auditor competenciesfor audits of psychosocial risks.",
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Internal audits of psychosocial risks at workplaces with certified OHS management systems. / Helbo, Anne; Hohnen, Pernille; Hasle, Peter.

I: Safety Science, Bind 84, 2016, s. 201-209.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Internal audits of psychosocial risks at workplaces with certified OHS management systems

AU - Helbo, Anne

AU - Hohnen, Pernille

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AB - Psychosocial risks are widely recognized as a major challenge at work, a challenge that most organizationsfind difficult to manage in practice. The OHSAS 18001 standard provides a framework for the managementof occupational health and safety risks, including psychosocial risks. However, suchoccupational health and safety management (OHSM) systems tend to have difficulties in adequatelyaddressing psychosocial risks at work. A crucial element in the OHSM system is internal audits. We haveinvestigated how two Danish municipalities have transformed the general audit guidelines into internalaudit practices capable of targeting the psychosocial risks. The results show that the municipalities experienceddifficulties in transforming the general audit guidelines into practical models, and we found thatthis led to significant variations in audit practices. The explanation for these difficulties can be found bothin the nature of the psychosocial risks and in implementation constraints. Compared to traditional safetyaudits, auditing psychosocial risks appears to require different methods and auditor competencies, a factorthat the OHSAS 18001 standard does not explicitly take into account. On the basis of our study, wereach two major conclusions: first, that the standard provides little help in auditing the managementof psychosocial risks in relation to OHSM systems; and second, that the full potential for managementof psychosocial risks cannot be achieved without developing additional methods and auditor competenciesfor audits of psychosocial risks.

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