AS/NZS 4801

Occupational Health and

Safety Management Systems

Various safety management standards have been developed to meet the needs of workers in different jurisdictions and counties. In Australia and New Zealand the best known safety management system standard is the AS/NZS 4801; however this is closely followed by the BS 18001 standard which was developed in the UK.

Both standards require that the business understand and meet the obligations of relevant safety legislation and regulations. In Australia the model work health and safety laws consist of the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act, supported by model WHS regulations, model Codes of Practice and a National Compliance and Enforcement Policy. Under the WHS harmonisation program these are effective in all states and territories from 1 Jan 2013 (some states adopted these at an earlier date) except for Victoria and WA. More information is available from the Safe Work Australia website at

In New Zealand the principal law is the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE Act), available at

Other legislation and regulations may also apply to your business depending on the nature of the workplace and type of services performed.

Both standards require that an effective safety management system is established. Just as for the 9001 quality management standard, this means management commitment, measurable objectives, monitoring performance and continual improvement.

A summary of the key safety management requirements in both 4801 and 18001 is:

  • Ensuring a safe work environment
  • Documented safety management policies and procedures
  • Records of all activities related to safety management and incidents
  • Health of workers
  • Assessment of safety hazards and application of the hierarchy of controls to manage these risks
  • Consultation and communication with workers
  • Incident investigation

Recruitment agencies share the responsibility for safety for on-hire workers with the host employer. The safety management system of the agency should therefore be extended to include the safety of on-hire workers as well as internal staff. This can include assessing the safety of the host employer site and monitoring any hazards, ensuring the on-hire worker has appropriate safety training for the role, and more. This needs to be carefully designed and implemented, particularly where on-hire workers are placed into industries or situations of a high safety risk.

Certification against either the AS/NZS 4801 or the BHS 18001 standards provides your clients and workers with confidence that the safety management system is compliant and is effectively managed and controlled.

Certex specializes in providing certification services to recruitment and other professional service industries. The 4801 and 18001 safety standards can be adopted either on their own or as part of an integrated management system including AS/NZS ISO 9001 or the RCSA SDS or others.

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