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    ISO SAFETY MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK GOES LIVE

    Leadership, workforce engagement and risk assessment are key

    The new International Standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management systems has been published today (12th March 2018) – ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.

    ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001 and organisations already certified to OHSAS 18001 have three years to comply with the new ISO 45001 standard. Certification of conformity to ISO 45001 is not a requirement of the standard.

    The standard provides a set of processes for improving supply chain health and safety and is designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.

    The new standard uses the familiar Plan-Do-Check-Act model, recommended by HSE, within which organisations can minimise the risk of harm. The measures in place should address those hazards which can lead to long-term health issues as well as the hazards which give rise to traumatic injury.

    ISO 45001 integrates with other ISO management systems standards, thereby ensuring compatibility with the new versions of ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management).

    Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at IOSH contributed to the development of ISO 45001 and commented:

    “In our increasingly globalized world, with the development of extended and complex supply chains and growth in migrant and vulnerable workers, ISO 45001’s emphasis on health and safety management in supply chains should mean that contracting, procurement and outsourcing are more responsibly managed, potentially saving many lives.”

    Outsourced processes and subcontractors feature highly in the standard and organisations can choose to leverage the ISO 45001 management systems approach as a solution to identify, control and continually improve opportunities to reduce or eliminate safety and health risk to workers in the supply chain.

    Active leaders and involved workforce in ‘context’

    Everyone in an organisation must feel a shared responsibility for maintaining a safe environment, including employees, executives and directors.

    Company-wide engagement is central to ISO 45001. The new standard recognizes the value of worker consultation and places greater emphasis on employees being actively involved in the development, planning, implementation and continual improvement of the management system.

    Senior management must take an active role, promote a positive culture and communicate what needs to be done and why it is important. Leaders need to demonstrate they are actively involved and taking steps to integrate the H&S management system into the overall business processes.

    Richard Jones added

    “ISO 45001 means more focus on leadership and worker participation as well as ensuring the system takes into account the ‘world’ the organization operates in and the internal and external factors affecting it – known as its context. It means that top management must take a visible, directing role and be actively involved in the system’s implementation and ensuring its integration with other business systems.”

    Proportionality and risk based approach

    Richard Jones added that systems needs to be proportionate to the risk profile and complexity of the organisation e.g. in smaller organizations effective worker parti­cipation can be more direct and straightforward to achieve without the need for formal committee structures etc..

    David Smith the Chair of ISO/PC 283 which developed ISO 45001 says:

    “OH&S is a key aspect, which every business has to manage proactively. Apart from the devastating impact on people, poor OH&S management can have many negative effects on organizations, such as the loss of key employees, business interruption, claims, insurance premiums, regulatory action, reputational damage, loss of investors and, ultimately, the loss of business.”

    Smith says that the risk-based approach to managing OH&S contained in ISO 45001 advocates taking a “preventative angle” to identify which activities and processes could harm those working on behalf of the organization and others (i.e. visitors, members of the public, etc.) and to meet any legal compliance requirements. He adds that identifying the hazards at work is a prerequisite to eliminating or minimizing those that pose a significant risk.

     

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