A new international standard for occupational safety and health & safety is set to be published in March 2018.
ISO 45001 is the first global standard of its kind and is intended to provide a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions. This is regardless of the size, type or nature of the business or where it is located in the world. The standard covers both physical and mental health.
Do Employers Need to Act?
The new standard has recently gained the approval of global standard-setting body the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Although businesses certified under British Standard OHSAS 18001 will have three years to transition to the new standard, plans to do so should be put in place as soon as possible. This is because large changes maybe needed to adapt management systems.
The biggest change for businesses will be added focus on strong leadership from the top and worker participation. The standard expects health and safety matters to be integrated into the structure of an organisation. This is to ensure buy-in from boardroom level downwards and greater worker participation, rather than leaving health and safety matters solely to a health and safety manager. The new standard puts more emphasis on continual assessment of risks and opportunities. It encourages businesses to establish systematic processes which go further than assessing only those health and safety issues which directly impact on the business. Employers are required to take into account the bigger picture, including how suppliers and contractors manage their risks and how their work may impact on surrounding communities.
What Actions Should Employers Take?
Employers should review existing health and safety compliance policies to identify any gaps and ensure that they are filled. A good place to start is to have proactive, regularly reviewed and updated policies in place, which are fully supported by the management team and properly resourced. Policies need to go further than just identifying hazards. We would advise that there should be a focus on risk identification and control, to cover employee health as well as safety and encourage worker participation.
Good News or Unnecessary Legislation?
It is great to hear that ISO 45001 has finally been approved. Employers attaining the new standard can be confident that their organisation’s safety and health risks are being sensibly managed in a modern, risk-based way. They will also find it easier to do business both within the UK and worldwide as certification under the standard will be much sought-after by customers keen to address the risks to their own operations.
Croner can carry out a Gap Analysis to the ISO 45001 standard for your business, as well as provide consultancy in order to attain certification once it is launched. For expert health & safety advice and support contact 0808 145 3490.
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