5 ways the OHSAS migration to ISO 45001 can improve office health and safety
Organisations have until 11 March 2021 to migrate from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001. As the deadline for migration draws nearer, more and more organisations are beginning to wonder what the migration means for them, and what benefits it will bring. Will the new standard improve health and safety in the office?
- Staff involvement
It’s easy for people to dismiss health and safety, perhaps even rolling their eyes at what they think is simple common sense. Unfortunately, because OHSAS 18001 delegated responsibility for health & safety matters to a safety manager, it was easy for workers to imagine they had no responsibility when it came to office safety and keep rolling their eyes.
ISO 45001 addresses this potential problem by introducing a requirement that all staff need to undergo health and safety training and education. This places responsibility for safety on all of your staff, encouraging them to take ownership of their workspace and to proactively identify potential risks that could affect themselves and others.
- Management commitment
ISO 45001 doesn’t just share health and safety responsibility with your organisation’s staff; everyone in a management position is expected to take on stronger leadership roles when it comes to safety.
This means that it isn’t left to the safety manager to try to oversee your entire organisation; whether they work in finance, IT, or sales, managers are expected to identify risks and serve as a contact point for staff who have concerns or questions.
This doesn’t just reassure staff, clients and stakeholders that your organisation takes safety seriously, but it embeds that safety at every level of your workforce and ensures that there is safety oversight across the entire organisation.
- Easier implementation
The structure of ISO 45001 is based on the same framework used in other ISO standards. This means it’s easier to implement the new standard, which won’t make your office safer, but the engagement of key stakeholders will.
The ongoing maintenance, improvement, and assessment of your health and safety standards will be familiar and easier to deal with alongside your existing ISO certification. This reduces the risks of making errors and overlooking something in your occupational health & safety management system.
- Risk vs hazard
Regulations and legislation perform an important task in ensuring that appropriate controls are in place to protect people from known dangers, and OHSAS 18001 supported these efforts by placing its emphasis on hazard control.
Under the old standard, safety managers would highlight known hazards in the workplace and ensure those hazards were monitored, and that procedures were in place should someone be injured. But the new standard prioritises a more proactive approach that could keep your staff even safer.
One of the downsides to regulations and legislation is that they can take time to come into force, but the workplace doesn’t always wait. New technology, for instance, can often quickly make its way into offices, and the interaction between it and existing setups can produce new risks to staff.
Rather than waiting for regulations to catch up, ISO 45001 puts its focus on proactively identifying risks and ensuring that measures are in place to prevent risks becoming something more dangerous.
- Supplier and contractors
OHSAS 18001 concerned itself with the health and safety of your staff, but ISO 45001 takes a more ambitious approach to safety, expanding your organisation’s responsibilities to incorporate suppliers and contractors.
The new standard will require you to treat both suppliers and contractors the same as your office staff, which will include all of the existing and new OH&S requirements. This means you’ll need to identify risks that might not present themselves to your staff, but might pose a danger to suppliers or contractors. It also means that every member of your organisation, both staff and management, is responsible for the health and safety of outside workers.
Commitment to safety
With international recognition and an ongoing commitment to improvement, migrating to ISO 45001 represents the latest in workplace safety, but it won’t just make the office safer; it will tell the world that you value that safety.
Migrating to the newest standard will demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to occupational health and safety, which will impress your staff, stakeholders, and both new and existing clients.
So, if you were thinking about waiting until the deadline to migrate, it might be worth speaking to your certification body sooner rather than later.
For more information from the British Assesment Bureau, click here.
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