What You Need to Know About ISO 45001
If you are looking for expert opinion and assistance regarding the new international standard that has just been published, you will appreciate the expertise offered by our ISO 45001 consultants. However, to help you get started, even before having spoken to our consultants, let us look at ISO 45001 and how it affects your organisation in South Africa.
What is ISO 45001 and why should you care?
It is the first international standard on occupational health and safety quality. As it is a new standard, many questions remain, and business owners are concerned about how the implementation will affect them if they are already OHSAS 18001-compliant. To this end, our ISO 45001 consultants can help make the transition, answer questions, and assist in becoming ISO 45 001-compliant. In essence, ISO 45001 sets out the requirements for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and is thus an international safety standard for workplaces. It replaces OHSAS 18001.
With more than two million deaths and injuries reported at workplaces every year, it has become crucial to create an international standard to help minimise workplace-related health and safety risks. Typical risks include injuries from slips and falls, being exposed to toxic substances, working with heavy machinery without being qualified, working in extremely hot environments, and using incorrect material handling methods.
Any injuries or deaths at the workplace affect the productivity of the company. Such incidents also lead to insurance claims, penalties, off-time for injured parties, downtime of machinery, replacement of personnel and machinery, legal costs, and more. As such, organisations cannot afford injuries or health issues related to their work environments.
Apart from the direct effects of injures and health-related issues, consider the indirect effects. Employee morale dwindles the moment someone is injured at the workplace. This also leads to lower productivity. Companies where many injuries occur may find it difficult to expand their markets because consumers are concerned about their workplace practices.
It is important to address these issues with an international standard. By implementing an ISO 45 001-compliant occupational health and safety management system, your organisation shows consumers that you care. You also address cost issues related to injuries. Moreover, you improve worker morale and productivity. Our ISO 45 001 consultants are here to make the transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 easier.
Benefits of implementing ISO 45001 include:
- Being legislatively compliant.
- Ongoing improvements in processes and safety.
- Gaining credibility as an employer and supplier.
- Structuring management of risks.
- Improving safety awareness.
- Showing commitment to employee wellbeing.
- Protecting visitors, employees, and contractors.
- Improving productivity.
- Reducing downtime due to injuries.
- Reducing costs associated with injuries.
Though many of the ISO standards already focus on employee awareness and accountability, as our ISO 45001 consultants will explain, ISO 45001 goes further to ensure in-context participation and accountability. The leadership aspect has a prominent place in the new standard, providing details on the development of an occupational health and safety management system where employees and management work together to create a safer workplace.
Current Situation with OHSAS 18001
OHSAS 18000 is a widely implemented series of standards, with OHSAS 18001 providing the requirements for an occupational health and safety programme, and OHSAS 18002 providing the guidelines for implementation according to the requirements of OHSAS 18001. The OHSAS 18000 series has already been adapted to align more closely with ISO standards such as ISO 14001 and ISO 19001. ISO 45 001 uses Annex SL for alignment of the occupational health and safety requirements with other ISO standards. OHSAS 18001 has now been replaced by ISO 45 001. The standard is process focussed instead of being aimed at the adoption of specific procedures.
This makes it possible for companies to develop management programmes to address their specific risks, ensuring safer workplaces. As our consultants will further explain, ISO 45 001 uses ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 for normative referencing purposes. It implies harmonisation of the new OHS standard with the requirements of the above ISO standards. In essence, it facilitates easier integration with the organisation’s existing management systems. Our consultants can also help with the integration process.
Migration from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001
If your firm is already OHSAS 18001-compliant, you will not need to make major changes for the transition to the new ISO 14 001. However, there are differences, best discussed with our consultants, which must be addressed for certification purposes. Some of the differences are briefly discussed below, but for in-depth discussion, we recommend working with our consultants to understand how the changes will affect your organisation.
With OHSAS 18001, the main focus is on the employees. Accordingly, the employees must be informed about the occupational health and safety aspects. In addition, they need to partake in the various processes. ISO 45001 places emphasis on the above. Two clauses specifically address the above issue. Most of the new requirements focus on the organisational context, but with major differences in the structure of the two standards, we recommend seeking expert advice from our consultants on the interpretation of Clause 4.
OHSAS 18001 focuses on worker benefits of having the health and safety system in place. It is aimed at reducing the negative effects of occupational safety incidents, whereas ISO 45001, as our consultants will explain, is focused on the positive impact of having such a programme in place. Though ISO 45001 places importance on risk management, it also recognises the importance of health and safety management to bring about a positive organisational culture change. This is attained through putting more requirements in place for worker participation and through an increased focus on context, such as meeting regulatory requirements, involving stakeholders, and dealing with external influences.
The above and other differences between the two standards can be explained in full by our consultants. Your organisation has three years to make the transition to ISO 45 001. Start now by making use of our expertise regarding the transition to the new standard and integrating it with your existing management systems.