Chris J Ward , member of BSI drafting committee explains:
What will the New ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System mean to my business?
You may not aspire to the standard but you will almost certainly be affected by it.
How will it affect me?
ISO 45001 will become the internationally accepted standard across the globe for all companies, whether small, medium or large. Failure to acknowledge the standard could jeopardise your company's prospects of obtaining future contracts. If you are in a supply chain with compliant companies you may be required to achieve ISO 45001.
Will I need to comply?
For those adhering to its requirements they will have world class risk management and will require synchronisation with like minded companies and access to world markets. It will demonstrate best governance to stakeholders, shareholders, regulators and the public. It is not a mandatory standard, but it is expected that over 100,000 companies will have complied by 2019.
What is in the Standard that makes it so different to regulation and guidance that has gone before?
The new key requirements are to: demonstrate top management commitment, take into account the context of the organisation, provide for worker Involvement, take opportunities for improvement and keep documented information on OHS performance. Previous standards did not have such demanding requirements.
How will this be an improvement?
The key advantages of the new standard over existing systems are: it is a risk-based approach, (there is no conflict with existing standards e.g. OHSAS 18001/ILO requirements), it is an integrated management system, so fits with ISO 9001/14001; it provides for a streamlined approach for SMEs and importantly there are no transition arrangements from 18001.
What are the main requirements?
- Top management will have to take ownership and show commitment to a culture of good health and safety within their organization.
- There will be a requirement to take into account the context of the organisation, in terms of its geographical, geo political, supply chain and public expectations.
- To create internal systems and provisions for worker involvement including consultation and training.
- Identify and take opportunities for improvement at all levels within a pervasive culture of health and safety.
How is this better than the existing standards (including OHSAS 18001)?
The system is a risk based approach, to anticipate hazards, rather than wait for retrospective and sometimes laborious, inflexible legislation after people are harmed. It is to be a globally agreed upon standard, with virtually all the world's country's National Standards' Bodies contributing to its development. It will replace OHSAS 18001, which is to be withdrawn.
Will this create problems for my organisation?
The intention is to create a streamlined approach, with no transition arrangements from OHSAS 18001. This will mean a fresh start application together with a new auditing regime. Smaller and medium size enterprises may find themselves subject to the requirements due to client/customer pressures. However the standard has built in flexibilities which could help those with fewer resources achieve ISO 45001. Conformity to the standard should demonstrate compliance to your national standard's requirements for an occupational management system, because of its risk based approach.