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Risk in Context

ISO 45001 Sets the Stage for Health and Safety Improvements

Posted by Richard Kennedy May 10, 2018

Nearly 3 million employees are killed on the job globally each year, according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), costing employers billions of dollars in insurance and claims expenses and lost productivity. In response, the organization developed ISO 45001, the world’s first international standard that addresses occupational health and safety (OHS). The recently published standard helps organizations provide safe and healthy workplaces for employees and other interested parties, improve OHS performance, prevent deaths, and reduce work-related injuries and ill-health. 

ISO 45001 is one of the world’s most anticipated OHS standards. It aligns with ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environment management), and builds on OHSAS 18001, a framework aimed at controlling risks. The new standard is designed for any size organization and recognizes cultural or language differences; more than 70 countries participated in its development. In addition, it envisions a flexible program that can grow and evolve to address issues faced by rapidly expanding organizations. 

ISO 45001 aims to identify and control health and safety risks, reduce potential injuries, aid legislative compliance, and improve overall performance. The standard also demonstrates how to develop and implement a customized policy with the right objectives. 

Seven Areas of Focus

Moving forward, your organization can proactively improve its OHS performance by leveraging seven key dimensions, which align with key ISO 45001 processes. The standard’s best practices dictate that you should focus on:

  1. Leadership: Specify the safety roles of executives, managers, and workers and how they participate in developing, managing, implementing, and improving the OHS system.
  2. Scope: Determine what is “in” and what is “out” of scope of the OHS system. This includes identifying all interested parties and their specific needs.
  3. Planning: Identify hazards, assess risks, and develop a safety plan to control these hazards and risks.
  4. Resourcing: Specify the resources needed to deliver the safety plan and determine how to acquire these resources.
  5. Implementation: Deliver the safety program and use a management of change (MoC) program to initiate, maintain, and update processes and procedures.
  6. Evaluation: Develop and maintain a monitoring and evaluation program, including conducting an audit to determine whether the program’s defined policies, standards, and procedures are being followed and management review to determine whether the OHS system is correctly focused.
  7. Improvement: Design and implement an incident investigation program and apply learnings to drive continual improvement.

Safety professionals can also use ISO 45001 to gain detailed information about and verification of your suppliers’ OHS practices. An outsourced process, as defined under the standard is one that is integral to the OHS process, central to its objectives, and within its scope. Under ISO 45001, businesses should create controls their procurement processes, including addressing risks and hazardous materials, considerations for both raw materials and services, and how procured goods and services can affect OHS objectives. 

By applying the seven key dimensions to your organization, you can help your leadership drive improvements in operational safety, improve your total cost of risk, and enhance your bottom-line performance.

Related to:  Marsh Risk Consulting

Richard Kennedy

US practice leader of the Workforce Strategies