ISO 45001 is being designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries, with the future standard expecting to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses around the world. To do so it needs to be organic and adaptable to organizations of all size, regardless of their industry and country.
Therefore the ISO 45001 is built on the same framework, with similar elements, as all ISO management system standards. This allows for a high level of compatibility with the new version ISO 9001, quality management system and ISO 14001, Environmental management systems. It will be easy to implement with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model, making it more organic and easier for organizations to adopt and implement.
ISO 45001 outlines the elements which management systems need to include in order to be compliant.
A core element of the standard is planning. Requiring an organization’s understanding not only its activities of the organization but also the community and its local infrastructures – such as access to the local fire department, medical clinics, and culture. These are essential to understanding the risks. The next planning is to also identify the hazards and systems issues, including acquiescence in order to manage risks and opportunities. At this stage improvement objectives will be set, and current risks continue to be managed.
Leadership and worker engagement (at all levels)
ISO 45001 identifies that although it is the leadership’s responsibility to implement and direct the occupational health and safety (OH&S) performance of the organization, the inclusion of all workers is also critical – particularly those closest to the hazards. Workers include not just employees but contractors, and employees working off-site. It, therefore, allows organizations to determine exactly how it assures and implements participation by all employees. ISO 45001 also identifies that the management of resources, such as financial and physical, is key, and with tied to the commitment of top management.
The standard specifically requires awareness of occupational health and safety risks, effective communication of information necessary to manage these risks, and the assurance of competencies for individuals to perform their roles safely.
An effective occupational health and safety policy is necessary to guide the management system from top management. A policy must include:
– framework for setting the OH&S objectives,
– compliance with legal and other requirements the organization prescribes to,
– management of risks on a preferred hierarchy of controls,
– continual improvements
– Worker participation
Operational execution is the element that provides the requirements for processes to manage changes, contractors, outsourcing, and emergency preparedness. It also provides the controls to help alleviate risks from hazards and system-wide issues. Control over outsourced activities other than the supply chain is also included in the operational executive element.
Performance Evaluation and Continual Improvements
As ISO 45001 is developed on the PDCA framework, the need to evaluate the system and its effectiveness is one of the final elements. Including not just traditional safety inspections but other monitoring and measuring checks to assure the objectives are met. There is similarly a requirement to assess the conformance of an organization’s management system to ISO 45001.
In order to invoke the continual development element, organizations a required to follow up on all incidents, and near misses in the workplace. This will allow organizations to investigate the underlying causes to fix the hazard and other potential risks that could result in the same fate.
New objectives can then be developed and implemented to improve the processes within the organization.
Being an international standard, ISO 45001 will have its difficulties due to differing cultures, languages, and practices within the participating countries. It could potentially replace other OH&S management systems currently used in 127 countries, which will require patience and education to successfully implement in order for organizations to truly benefit. Continually improving the health and safety within organizations, such as manufacturers, needs to be taken seriously for the benefit of the managers and their workers, ISO 45001 takes steps towards this.