ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management

The burden of occupational injuries and diseases is significant, both for employers and the wider economy, resulting in losses from early retirements, staff absence and rising insurance premiums.  To combat the problem, ISO has developed a new standard, ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety management systems that will help organisations reduce this burden by providing a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.The standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, and follows other generic management system approaches such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. It takes into account other International Standards in this area such as OHSAS 18001, the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH Guidelines, various national standards and the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions.

What’s New in the International Standard?

With the new standard, you can ensure your health and safety management is aligned with the strategic directions of the organisation.
The key changes in the standard focus on:

  • Context of the organisation
  • Understanding the needs and expectations of the worker and other interested parties
  • Leadership, culture and commitment
  • Polices linked to overall strategic objectives and direction of the organisation
  • Participation and consultation
  • Risk and opportunities
  • Performance evaluation
  • Evaluation of compliance
  • Management review

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The new international approach to manage workplace occupational health and safety

ISO 45001 is the first internationally recognised worldwide standard on Occupational Health and Safety that will enable organisations, regardless of context and size, to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers, visitors, contractors and other interested parties to prevent death, work-related injury, ill -health and to continually improve its OH&S performance.

ISO 45001 has been developed using the ISO High Level Structure for management systems.  This structure is aligned to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

This structure:

  • Integrates with other management systems
  • Provides an integrated approach to organisational management
  • Ensures the organisation establishes clear policies which are compatible with the overall strategic objectives and direction of the organisation
  • Promotes continual improvement across the organisation
  • Enables the organisation to address and manage risk in the workplace

Large organizations broadly use OHSAS 18001 internationally. In a significant number of countries, OHSAS 18001 has been accepted as the national standard. In regards to this set-up, the OHSAS 18001-standard seamlessly fits the ISO 14001-standard. On the level of ISO, work is currently being done to develop an ISO-standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, namely ISO 45001. As a result, the OHSAS 18001:2007 will no longer be applicable and the ISO 45001 will comply with the High Level Structure of amongst others the renewed ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

Employers who have adopted OHSAS 18001 report that it promotes greater employee awareness and understanding of health and safety at work.

Organizations which have attained registration through GCS maintain that it leads to improved internal and external communications and a more disciplined attitude among employees to health and safety matters.

Some of the essential elements of the Standard include:

  • Developing OH&S policy
  • Planning
  • Implementing policy and plans
  • Checking for problems and taking corrective action
  • Reviewing management processes
  • Sustaining continual improvement.

The benefits of OHSAS 18001

Organizations certified to the Standard report a range of benefits, including:

  • A reduction in lost working days
  • Fewer workplace accidents
  • Fewer medical claims
  • Recognition by insurers and regulators
  • A more disciplined approach to safety
  • Improved employee motivation, retention and satisfaction
  • Reduced legal costs
  • Less time and money spent on accident-related investigation and paperwork.
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