The world is changing. The way people work, the products and services they buy, and the way businesses operate are all changing at breakneck speed. The pace of change is accelerating and the impact it is having on businesses and their bottom-line is profound. Businesses need to change with it. The ISO 45001 standard is one of the most widely adopted safety standards in the world. It is the standard that underpins many other international standards. However, the standard is not static and is undergoing a number of changes.
In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the standard and how they will impact your organization.
ISO 45001:2018 Standard
The ISO 45001:2018 standard is the most recent version of the ISO 45001 standard. It was published in March 2018, replacing the OHSAS 18001 management system standard.
The new standard is part of a broader effort by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to align and update all of the specification standards for the management of Environmental, Energy, Health and Safety, and Quality (EEHSQ).
7 Key in the ISO 45001 Standard
- Context of the Organization
“Clause 4 of ISO 45001 – Context of the Organization” requires that participants view occupational health and safety management in a broader context. This includes regulations and governance as well as organizational culture and its impact on all stakeholders, including workers, customers and more.
The context of the organization includes the following key elements:
- Additionally to workers (managers, supervisors, and senior leaders are defined as workers in ISO 45001), there are also other parties interested in the process.
- Needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties
- Legal requirements
- Different needs between managers and non-managers
As the organization develops the OH&S management system, it will consider internal and external factors, employee needs, and the work being performed. The context of the organization must be documented and accessible.
- Leadership and Worker Participation
Top management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment. The engagement of top management is essential to support the organization by providing resources and promoting continuous improvement. A key responsibility of the top management is to establish, implement and maintain the OH&S policy, and to ensure that it is communicated within the organization and shared with relevant interested parties.
When it comes to the health & safety of workers, it is essential that these same workers are consulted about the OH&S Management System and participate in implementing the safety processes as well. Therefore, the organization must determine the processes necessary to consult with workers at all levels of the organization in all aspects of the development, planning, implementation, and performance evaluation of the OH&S Management System.
The ISO 45001 standard consolidates several clauses (4.3.1, 4.3.2, and 4.3.3) in OHSAS 18001 regarding the definition of objectives, identifying opportunities, and managing risks. In addition to addressing opportunities and measures for effectiveness, the new standard incorporates legal requirements. Organizations must consider the available resources, identify the responsible staff, timelines, and associated metrics when setting health and safety objectives. As part of this change, there will be additional documentation, formalizing organizational goals and priorities in a more systematic manner than with OHSAS 18001.
ISO 45001 section 7 revises several of the support provisions found in OHSAS 18001. Many procedural requirements are abandoned in favour of more detailed documentation. Furthermore, there is a greater emphasis on communication – ISO 45001 mandates defining and measuring communication objectives. This is related to a new emphasis on awareness, where managers must communicate with workers about policies, risks and hazards, as well as the results of any accident investigations and other official inquiries and potential changes.
Under the general operation section of the standard, ISO 45001 introduces several new requirements. In section 8.1.2, risk management principles are arranged according to a hierarchy of controls. Furthermore, it highlights their occupational health and safety requirements as well as identifies potential sources of operational change. The changes may include new personnel or equipment, changes to working conditions, or new regulatory requirements.
Further, the new provisions strengthen requirements and controls related to outsourced work, procurement processes, and communications when dealing with internal and external contractors. In addition, ISO 45001 features an expanded section devoted to emergency preparedness.
The operational controls of an activity must be able to accommodate both new and existing hazards and risks, according to ISO 45001. In this way, the overall occupational health and safety management system become more flexible and resilient.
- Performance Evaluation
In many instances, the new standard strengthens, expands, or modifies the outgoing standard’s evaluation requirements. Monitoring and performance results must now be documented. In keeping with the new organizational context emphasis, these benchmarks should also take into account additional factors, such as legal requirements, risks, opportunities, and objectives.
In addition to regulating compliance and internal and external auditing requirements, ISO 45001 includes more detailed requirements. As a result of these changes, the organization’s workers will be actively engaged — workers must be aware of the company’s compliance status, and management must inform interested parties about audit results. The new standard also explores risks and opportunities as part of management review.
- Continual Improvement
Continual improvement is a core value of all ISO systems. In ISO 45001, occupational health and safety management requires identifying nonconformities and taking action. In the new standard, preventive action is no longer considered a distinct concept. Instead, prevention becomes a fundamental requirement of the system as a whole.
For example, when an incident occurs, compliant organizations conduct a root cause analysis and make appropriate changes to ensure similar incidents don’t occur again. It is no longer a reactive system — instead, it helps drive continuous improvement through nonconformities.
Get ISO 45001 Certified!
We believe every business owner should get certified to ISO 45001. It is a simple set of standards, which will help you to manage your business more efficiently, improve your product and service offerings and make sure you are always in compliance with current regulations.
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