Cepsa's chemical plant in Palos certifies its Occupational Health and Safety System

02 Dec 2020

    • The audit was conducted under the ISO 45001:2018 international standard, which replaces OHSAS 18001
    • It includes new developments, such as workers actively participating in occupational health and safety 

The Palos Chemical Plant has become the first Cepsa center to certify its Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) System under the ISO 45001:2018 standard after successfully passing the recent audit by the external verifier, AUDELCO. This audit is voluntary and is conducted at the same time as the regulatory audit under the Spanish Occupational Risk Prevention Law. By doing so, the Palos Chemical Plant has taken a step further in terms of evaluating and monitoring its preventive system, as the La Rábida, Tenerife and Gibraltar-San Roque refineries have recently done, as well as the aviation and bunker subsidiaries.

The new standard, which replaced OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment), incorporates improvements that consolidate the safe and healthy working conditions of this operating center while strengthening the preventive culture that has always characterized it, eliminating hazards and proactively reducing risks. Among the improvements brought about by the new certification, the most noteworthy include heightened commitment from management, increased engagement and active participation from workers at all levels, and the need to develop indicators that demonstrate the continuous improvement of the system, which can be achieved through constant evaluation and monitoring. It also enhances compliance with legal requirements by requiring proof of this progress.

The organization's responsibility has also been increased, as it must now promote the physical and mental health of its workers, in addition to protecting them. Thus, workers' wellbeing at work is now assessed in terms of their emotions or feelings about their work and professionalism (assessment, respect, development, etc.), along with other aspects that can improve the working environment (work-life balance, flexibility of working hours, remote working etc.).

The organization that ran the audit noted in their report that the objective was successfully achieved, which highlighted how well-developed our Health and Safety Management System is. The audit was conducted over a 3-day period mainly in person and with all the necessary COVID safety measures; 20 representatives from different company departments and 2 auditors were involved.

The audit team highlighted the following strong points: a consistently effective management and performance system during 2020; leadership, competence and awareness in Occupational Health and Safety; timely communication with the media and relevant parties during simulations and the analysis of historical accident rates in the workplace risk assessments.

Just a few days ago the chemical plant once again passed the SEVESO III audit, whose primary objective is to prevent serious accidents and limit their consequences for people and the environment

From OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001

Cepsa has always proactively integrated the occupational health and safety of its employees and ancillary companies into its management, providing safe and healthy workplaces to prevent work-related injuries and health deterioration, by minimizing risks and eliminating hazards, taking into account the participation of workers and their representatives in the process.

As a result of this focus, the Palos Chemical Plant adopted the OHSAS 18001 standard in 2004 as a reference model for managing its hazards and risks, which has now been replaced by the even more rigorous ISO 45001.

The certification process includes a comprehensive examination of the effectiveness of the prevention management system in place, going beyond the legal requirements, and sets out the requirements the occupation health and safety management system must meet so that organizations can optimize their system’s performance and effectively control the risks associated with their activities.
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