What you need to know about the release of the Draft International Standard for ISO45001

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Health & safety managers are no doubt aware that the Draft International Standard for ISO45001 (the replacement for OHSAS18001 certification) was recently released. So what’s new in the DIS of ISO45001? What does the new standard mean for businesses?

 

As a member of the UK BSI HS1 committee, I was able to get an inside look at what the changes are. And as a long-time health and safety consultant, I have a few ideas about what businesses and HSCE managers will have to do differently.

 

Main changes

Perhaps the most significant high-level change in ISO45001 is it is truly a cross-organisational system. To be successful, an organisation will need to involve every level of executive, manager and staff:

Top management

Some 18001 companies were able to sneak by with the H&S manager doing all the work and executives having little to no involvement or understanding of the associated procedures and processes.

Under ISO45001, top management will need to demonstrate true leadership and accountability for occupational health and safety.  

Health & safety managers

For all the differences between 18001 and 45001, one thing remains the same: HSCE managers will have to take the initiative and spearhead certification. Ultimately, HSCE managers must ensure their team and necessary staff has the appropriate training and the correct policies and procedures are put in place. They will also serve as the first point of contact with their 45001 health and safety consultant to help guide the process.

Workers

Workers will not just benefit from a safer, healthier and more aware workplace, but will be key contributors to the success of the 45001 standard. Workers are responsible for identifying hazards and risk as well as the development and operation of the OH&S management system.

Mental ill-health

In a move that modernizes the standard’s concept of health, 45001 includes requirements around preventing mental ill-health. Instead of just focusing on injuries and accidents, 45001 takes into account the high personal and business cost to ignoring mental health issues.

Recognizing causes

45001 looks at two types of causes of injury: immediate impacts (such as accidents or epidemics) and longer term impacts (such as repeated exposure to radiation or carcinogenic chemicals, or to a constantly stressful working environment). This new focus on long-term issues is also an important step in helping companies prevent health and safety challenges before they arise.

What does it mean for businesses and HSCE managers

Companies with an 18001 certification expiring will have to transition to 45001 by 2019. However, given the enhancement to internal processes as well as external reputation that 45001 brings, organisations are encouraged to start planning their transition as soon as possible.

Companies that also certify under ISO9001 or ISO14001 would be wise to look at the requirements of all three systems together and find opportunities to streamline efforts. Finding a consultant that is familiar with all systems as well as your industry can help ensure a smooth transition.

 

As the ISO/PC283 continues to meet, ask for industry input and revises the draft, I’ll continue to blog on the changes and tips on how to meet the new standard.

To stay up to date on the latest legislation and standards, sign up for one of our HSCE briefings.

 

Author

Health, Safety, Climate and Environment Area Lead

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