Not all details relating to the above changes will be common to ISO 45001 but the high level structure concepts of leadership, context, interested parties and risks and opportunities will apply. The term ‘lifecycle perspective’ may not be explicit in ISO 45001, but the idea of considering risks and opportunities relating to your business or value chain will at least be implied.
Taking the first step
Organisations should be encouraged to start their transition early. With a clear plan and the appropriate time, transition will be effective and efficient. Conversely, a lack of preparation and the loss of your ISO 14001 certificate cannot be ruled out. Starting out early will also help you to integrate ISO 45001 into your thinking, rather than tackling each independently.
You will have three years to be certified to the revised version and one of your first steps should be to establish when your next recertification audit is due and decide whether to be recertified to the 2004 or 2015 version. In theory, an organisation could be certified to the 2004 version in 2018. However, this is likely to increase audit costs and the time needed as they would then need to be recertified to the 2015 standard before September 2018.
Arguably, leadership commitment is the requirement which will take the longest to implement. Start early by building awareness of the changes with senior management, for example by raising it at management meetings and ISO 14001 management review meetings. One way of securing buy-in is to reevaluate the business case for ISO 14001 – what benefit has it delivered and what more could it bring? After all, drivers such as climate change and resource scarcity are likely to have emerged since the certificate was first awarded. Become familiar with business processes, for example, risk management, mission, vision, values and project sign off, as this will assist you to integrate the EMS.
Another way to develop engagement with top management is to recognise and publicise your environmental achievements, including those which may fall outside of the EMS because they were cost or customer driven. Remember that awareness raising should not be confined to one or two functions, as the revised ISO 14001 demands cross-functional input. When routinely reviewing documents, consider ISO 14001: 2015 and make changes now rather than wait.
It can be advantageous to integrate your approach to meeting the ISO 14001 with that of ISO 45001. For example:
- Your approach to undertaking a context review is likely to be the same regardless of the standard. You could conduct a workshop for senior managers to determine context and then relate it to each management system.
- You could identify interested parties and then decide which are relevant to each management system before determining their requirements.
- Any engagement with top management could cover more than one standard, rather than doing each in isolation.
- Risks and opportunities assessment processes could cover environment and H&S.
Regardless of the exact approach taken, it makes little sense to tackle these two standards in complete isolation. Not only can time be saved but the overall integration will provide more robust and intuitive systems.
Greg Roberts is an environmental practitioner who sits on the ISO Technical Committee and is responsible for developing guidance on the new standard (ISO 14004). Mike Shaw is a chartered H&S practitioner and leads Ramboll Environ’s H&S risk consultancy practice in the UK.