July 4, 2018

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ISO 45001

Transitioning to ISO 45001

Everyone in an organisation is responsible for health and safety, not just the health and safety manager. That was the opening message from RoSPA Health & Safety Consultant, Bernie Cerriono speaking at Safety & Health Expo.

Talking about the introduction of ISO 45001, Bernie highlighted the 2.2 million deaths worldwide that occur from workplace accidents and diseases. The aim of 45001 was to introduce a common structure, aligned to other standards, and move away from 18001 which is not international.

Explaining 45001, Bernie noted the 10 clauses within it and the emphasis on ‘context of the organisation’ and on leadership – the need for top management to demonstrate their involvement and actions in relation to the occupational health & safety system (OH&S system).

In three years, 18001 will be revoked he said, and he went on to highlight the business benefits of transitioning to 45001: introducing a strategy across business units, improving shareholder relationships, greater productivity, involving workers, to name a few.

Gap analysis

Bernie stressed the need for businesses to undertake a gap analysis in order to find out how to fit 45001 into their organisation. See what is already in place, he suggests, and ask ‘do we need more funding’?

Referring to the documented information requirement of the standard, Bernie suggested this can all be kept online; businesses do not need physical policies and procedures anymore. However, documented information does still need to be controlled.

Management priorities

Management needs to buy in, said Bernie. But how? 18001 will cease to exist in three years and so businesses need to look at moving on. He suggested: engaging the safety committee in the workplace, engaging workers; audit the OH&S system to see how well it is being implemented for continual improvement. But key to this is worker involvement throughout the whole process.

Talking about key changes with 45001, Bernie went back to the focus on organisational context – what happens in that organisation? Look beyond the business’s own health and safety issues and consider external issues, like contractors. Integrate the system into the organisation, not just to the health and safety manager and team. Worker participation – engage the workforce, communicate and raise awareness of roles. And above all, he added, make sure people understand.

Taking the audience through 45001 clause by clause, Bernie ended the discussion by emphasising the need for continual improvement, based on the plan-do-check-act cycle. The OH&S management system approach in ISO 45001:2018 is founded on this and it should be repeated for continuous improvement.

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