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The New Berlin, Wisconsin office of ABB has earned the DNV (Det Norske Veritas) Management Systems Certificate, known as the OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) 18001. It is the third DNV certificate the operation has earned, and holds. The ABB Low Voltage Drives, Motors & Generators, Medium Voltage Drives, and Advanced Power Electronics business units for North America are based at the facility.
"This OHSAS 18001 certificate proves that ABB's management system has been measured against a best practice standard and found compliant," said Rich Bizek, safety, health and compliance manager, ABB Inc., New Berlin. DNV is one of the world's largest Quality Systems Accreditation bodies and helped establish best practice standards that corporations are benchmarked and tested against.
The purpose of the OHSAS 18001 certificate is to let employees and other stakeholders know that ABB proactively protects the health and safety of their workforce. OHSAS 18001 helps ABB to manage, measure, and improve our health and safety procedures through: identifying hazards and assessing risks in our work environment; developing methods to eliminate hazards and risks; and implementing measures to evaluate further improvement and strengthen ABB's ability to meet strategic objectives.
The OHSAS 18001 is issued by a third-party accreditation body/registrar. In order to receive the OHSAS 18001 certificate, this party measures a company's management system by evaluating very specifically the nature of its activities, and the conditions under which it operates. Now that ABB received the certificate, we are in constant review to stay compliant with all national, state, and local protocol when it comes to health and safety.
ABB employees benefit via this certification, knowing that we are working in an environment deemed safe and healthy, per DNV standards. "It's a solid foundation," said Bizek, "that indicates ABB's commitment to safety." Because the focus is concentrated, and compliance is ongoing, the chances for employees to be subjected to, or suffer, personal injuries also decrease as a complement to certification, Bizek noted. Reduced material losses caused by accidents and production interruptions, and reduced insurance costs, in addition to costs due to absence of employees, are additional benefits to employees and the company.
The OHSAS 18001 may also increase sales because ABB's customers know that they are purchasing products from a company that has a safe work environment and are in tune to the regulations of our customers' safety and health programs, Bizek said.
OHSAS 18001 encouraged changes in ABB before and after receiving the certificate. Some changes made before ABB received the certificate were a better record-keeping system with training and updated policies and procedures dealing with safety and health. All safety and health policies were put in a format, which is user friendly to the standards, so that all employees can understand how to keep their work environment safe and healthy. "We then had a third party auditor come in to verify that what ABB is doing was on a proper path for accreditation," according to Bizek. "New Berlin had no major findings, but we implemented changes to right several very minor findings, to better our company."
The tough work occurs after receiving the OHSAS 18001 because it disciplines ABB to improve, continuously, health and safety regulations. Some changes made after receiving the certificate have included: enhanced lockout tag-out policy; updated procedures to include outside contractors; and continual improvement on relevant legislation. After receiving the OHSAS 18001, auditors continue to monitor the occupational health and
safety system performance.
The OHSAS 18001 is the third DNV Management System Certificate that ABB has been awarded. The other certificates that ABB was awarded were the ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and the ISO 9001 (Quality Management). The ISO 14001 means that environmental standards were met. The ISO 9001 means that ABB met the requirements set by ISO standards to meet the criteria of being a world-class operation. This was achieved through the focus on how individual work tasks affect the quality of the products and services provided to ABB employees. The difference between the OHSAS 18001 and the two other certificates earned is that safety and compliance were added to OHSAS 18001 as the next step in the stairway of excellence.