ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Standard

Training and Implementation Support

What is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001:2018 is a new International standard which provides a framework to manage and continuously improve Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) within the organization. The risk-based approach standard introduces the common ‘Annex SL’ structure.

To help protect employees and visitors from work-related accidents and diseases, the International Organization for Standardization introduced the ISO 45001 standard, which represents the world’s first international standard for occupational health and safety — or OH&S.

Sadly, thousands of workers lose their lives each day to preventable instances of adverse workplace conditions. In fact, according to the ISO and International Labor Organization — or ILO — the total number of workers who die every day from accidents and work-related diseases exceeds 7,600, which adds up to more than 2.7 million lives lost every year across the globe.

ISO 45001 certification was developed to mitigate any factors that can cause employees and businesses irreparable harm. Its standards are the result of great effort by a committee of health and safety management experts who looked closely at a few other approaches to system management — including ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. In addition, ISO 45001 was designed to take other existing occupational health and safety standards, such as OHSAS 18001, into account — as well as the ILO’s labor standards, conventions and safety guidelines.

According to many health and safety experts — including the professionals who worked on the ISO committee — ISO 45001 represents a landmark breakthrough. For the first time internationally, businesses of all sizes can now access a single framework that offers them a clear pathway to developing better and more robust occupational health and safety measures.

Especially geared toward senior management, ISO 45001 has the ultimate goal of helping businesses provide a healthy and safe working environment for their employees and everyone else who visits the workplace. This goal can be achieved by controlling factors that could potentially lead to injury, illness and — in extreme situations — even death. As a result, ISO 45001 is concerned with mitigating any factors that are harmful or that pose a danger to workers’ physical and/or mental well-being.

Although ISO 45001 is heavily informed by OHSAS 18001, it’s a distinctly new standard — not a simple revision or brief update. Read on to see what organizations of all types and sizes need to do to maintain compliance and achieve ISO 45001 certification.

By adopting a systematic approach including worker participation, the organization can integrate OH&S within its business processes which will contribute to prevention of accidents and long- and short-term ill health effects.

The intended outcome of the OH&S management system is for the organization to:

  • Provide a safe and healthy workplace(s)
  • Prevent work related injury and / or ill health
  • Proactively monitor and improve OH&S performance
  • Eliminate hazards and minimize OH&S risks (including system deficiencies)
  • Take advantage of OH&S opportunities and address management system non-conformities associated with its activities
  • Fulfil legal and other requirements
  • Achieve OH&S objectives
  • Integrate other aspects of health and safety including worker wellness / wellbeing

The standard provides a platform to develop a positive safety culture leading to worker wellbeing. Once the policy framework has been put in place, along with processes to facilitate the organization’s commitment, the standard then asks the organization to audit, review and improve the system including assessment of compliance obligations. This approach provides the organization with both assurance and business continuity. Standard requirements can significantly help the organization improve internally; by embedding a culture of challenge and continual improvement.

Implementation is a demonstration and commitment from senior leadership to internal and external stakeholders (interested parties) of the intent to protect workers from accidents including short- and long-term ill health effects. Of course, this may in-turn reduce downtime, lead to reduction or prevention of worker loss time hours and potential prosecution.

The standard promotes worker participation when identifying hazards, elimination or reducing risk by implementation of controls integrated with other business process. This approach can improve safety culture, minimize risk and embed best practice resulting in increased productivity.

The standard provides a structure to monitor and review compliance obligations to ensure the organization is legally compliant including products and services. It is important for an organization to understand what it is to achieve, why it needs to achieve and if it has achieved – this should be demonstrated within the system.

Implementing ISO 45001: 2018
Following are the key steps in the implementation process:

1) Get the support of management: How will you get critical management support ‑ talk to individuals separately, or in a joint meeting?

2) Know your legal requirements: Do you have health & safety laws for your industry? Have you looked at the regional, state, national, and international level? Section 6.1.3 of ISO 45001 outlines the requirements for knowing and maintaining your compliance so that your implementation will succeed.

3) Define the scope of your OH&S management system: Is your OH&S management system applicable to your entire company, or just one location of a multi-location company? This will be critical for writing your OH&S Policy, and objectives and plans that guide your OH&S

4) Define the processes and procedures: What processes and procedures need to be defined to control the OH&S hazards within your company? How will you identify all your hazards, and the risks associated with them, so that you can ensure the proper controls will be in place? What risk assessment do you need to do? What operational controls and emergency preparedness procedures do you need? What will you write down, and what can be controlled through proper training and awareness?

5) Implement the OH&S processes and procedures: What do you need to do to put into place all the processes and procedures from Step 4? What sort of hierarchy of controls and procedures do you need? Do you need to work closely with some individuals in your organization to achieve success? How will you roll out the additional responsibilities that some employees will now have?

6) Train your employees and make them aware: How will you make your employees aware of what ISO 45001 is, and why you are implementing it? Will you have training sessions in department meetings, or will managers train the employees? Who needs to be trained on any changes you have made to the processes?

7) Choose your certification body: It is important to choose a certification body suitable for your company to get the most benefit, so how will you do this?

8) Use the OH&S management system and keep records: As you proceed, what do the OH&S records tell you about your processes? Are they working well, or do you need to modify anything through your corrective action process? Do your employees understand what they need to do, as written in the records, or is there further training needed in some areas? Do you see areas for improvement in your processes, and if so, how can you profit from this?

9) Do your internal audits: Your internal audits are the tools you use to check each of your processes, so what are they telling you? Are your records adequate to show the process is working? Are there any problems that you need to fix with your corrective action process? Do some areas need more frequent audits?

10) Do a management review: Is your OH&S management system functioning as expected by the senior management plan? Is it properly implemented and effective? Are improvements being made, and are adequate resources being supplied to the effort?

11) Corrective actions: Are there problems in your OH&S management system you will need to fix? Did you find these in your process measurements, internal audits, or management review? Have you included OH&S incident investigation in your corrective action system? Use your corrective action process to find the root cause of the problem and address this cause with a corrective action.

12) Certification audits: When you are ready, your certification body will send in people to compare your OH&S management system plans, processes, and procedures against the necessary requirements of ISO 45001.

Training and Workshops
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