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Kate Field, Global Champion of Health and Safety at the BSI, has admitted challenges in communication exist around the new ISO 45001 health and safety management standard which was launched in March.
Field, speaking at the Safety and Health Expo as part of an ISO 45001 panel debate, said that organisations are having issues with its emphasis on engagement with the workforce and emphasised the need for improvement. “Although a lot of organisations have very good worker engagement they are struggling to really demonstrate this non-managerial participation and consultation.
“Good communication is not enough. It’s about how are you engaging with your non-managerial staff and shop-floor workers. How are they going to be part of risk-assessments? How are they helping to develop the policies or objectives?”
The new standard, however was praised for its robustness and chairing the debate, former HSE Principal Inspector Neil Stephens said it would force organisations to be transparent in their integration. “I use to work with lots of companies who would proudly tell me they had 18001 and I’d be sat in the office and look out of the window and see chaos outside. What was actually written down was not happening on-site. One of the big changes that the new standard brings out is that it does have to follow through,” he said.
Also extolling the standard’s advantages, panellist Mike Taylor, a Consultant at Turner and Townsend, said it should encourage companies to look beyond the confines of OHSAS 18001.
“One of the positive things with ISO 45001 is the contextual side of it. A lot of organisations who passed with 18001 have existed in a bubble; a health and safety bubble that doesn’t broaden out into the supply chain. Health and safety is about the business and the people, and that’s quite right, but now that part of the business is having to look a little bit wider,” he said.