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What is ISO 45001? 2018 Occupational Health And Safety Management Systems

June 28, 2024 | By: Rex Yip

ISO 45001 Overview

ISO 45001 is an international standard that establishes a robust framework for managing occupational health and safety (OHS) risks. This standard provides organisations of all sizes with a systematic approach to improving their OHS performance and protecting workers.

At the core of ISO 45001 is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) methodology, which helps organisations identify hazards, assess risks, and implement effective controls. The standard sets clear criteria for an OHS policy, objectives, and processes, covering areas such as:

  • Leadership Commitment: Ensuring top management is actively engaged in OHS management and promoting a positive safety culture.
  • Worker Participation: Involving workers in the development, implementation, and continual improvement of the OH&S management system.
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: Proactively identifying workplace hazards and evaluating the associated risks to determine appropriate controls.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring the organisation meets all applicable OHS legal and other requirements.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Establishing and maintaining plans and procedures to respond to potential emergency situations.
  • Incident Investigation and Corrective Action: Analysing incidents to identify root causes and implement necessary corrective and preventive measures.
  • Continual Improvement: Regularly reviewing the OHS management system to identify opportunities for enhancement and drive continuous improvement.

By implementing ISO 45001, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to worker safety, enhance their reputation, and potentially reduce the costs associated with workplace incidents and ill health. The standard is not a legal requirement, but it can help ensure a company's H&S practices align with best practices and relevant regulations.

What is Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)

The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach is a core component of the ISO 45001 standard. The PDCA methodology is a cyclical process for continually improving an organisation's Health and Safety Management System (HSMS):

  • Plan:
    • Establish the organisation's OHS objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the OHS policy.
    • Identify hazards, assess OHS risks and opportunities, and determine necessary controls.
  • Do:
    • Implement the planned processes.
    • Communicate relevant information and provide training.
  • Check:
    • Monitor and measure OHS performance against the organisation's policy, objectives, legal and other requirements.
    • Investigate incidents, nonconformities, and take corrective actions.
  • Act:
    • Take actions to continually improve OHS performance to achieve intended outcomes.

This PDCA approach aligns well with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations in the UK, as well as the expectations set by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for employers to have a systematic process for managing health and safety.

By repeatedly cycling through the PDCA process, organisations can continually review and enhance their OHS arrangements to drive ongoing improvements in worker safety and health protection. This proactive, systematic approach is a key tenet of the ISO 45001 standard.

Benefits of ISO 45001

Certification to ISO 45001 can increase government contract opportunities, as many public sector entities require OHS certification for contract eligibility. Adopting the standard can also help organisations prepare for the future by future-proofing their safety management systems and staying ahead of evolving regulations.

Existing clients may also be impressed by the organisation's commitment to safety and quality, demonstrated through ISO 45001 certification. Involving workers in the development and implementation of the OHS management system can also improve safety culture and employee engagement.

Furthermore, demonstrating robust safety practices can lead to lower public liability insurance premiums. ISO 45001 certification can also provide a competitive advantage when bidding for new contracts or tenders, especially in high-risk industries.

Implementing ISO 45001 can also help reduce the effort required to certify to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and others, as they share common clauses.

By implementing ISO 45001, organisations can not only protect their workers but also enhance their reputation, increase business opportunities, and drive continuous improvement in occupational health and safety.

ISO 45001 and Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP)

SSIP (Safety Schemes in Procurement) certification refers to the health and safety accreditations awarded by members of the SSIP Forum. These accreditations help organisations satisfy the pre-qualification criteria established by clients, particularly in the construction industry. (see also: What is SSIP? - Wirehouse Employer Services)

The SSIP scheme is widely recognized within the UK, as it was developed to align with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations). This makes SSIP particularly relevant for construction, supply chain, and manufacturing companies.

On the other hand, ISO 45001 is an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems. While not specific to the construction industry, ISO 45001 certification can help organisations in any sector demonstrate their commitment to health and safety.

Importantly, the SSIP scheme recognizes ISO 45001 certification. If a company has achieved ISO 45001 certification by a SSIP Registered Member, the same SSIP Registered Member can also certify the company against the requirements of the SSIP scheme.

This means that companies can leverage their existing ISO 45001 certification to obtain the SSIP certificate in an easier way and at a reduced cost. The combination of ISO 45001 and SSIP certificate can be a powerful way for organisations to demonstrate their robust health and safety management practices, which is highly valued in procurement processes.

How do I get ISO 45001 certification?

When pursuing ISO 45001 certification, the auditor will assess the company using the Annex SL clauses. The Annex SL framework outlines a set of common clauses that are included in key management system standards, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, and ISO 45001. All content in the management system must meet the criteria of these ten Annex SL clauses.

Engaging a health and safety consultant can be highly beneficial. They can thoroughly review your existing policies, procedures, and documentation, and identify any gaps or areas needing improvement to align with ISO 45001 standards. The consultant can then work collaboratively with you to develop and implement the necessary systems and processes, ensuring you are fully prepared for the certification assessment.

During the on-site evaluation, the consultant can provide guidance and support to help you successfully demonstrate your compliance with the ISO 45001 requirements.

About the Author
Rex Yip
Rex Yip
Rex Yip, Author at Wirehouse Employer Services

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