ISO 45001 will enter the Approval Stage in November 2017 after several years of reviews and enhancements to the proposal. After an initial set back due to enormous interest and involvement by ISO member countries, the expected publication date is now set at March 2018. The ISO 45001 standard regarding Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems - Requirements will serve as an add-on to existing standards such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. It takes various national and international labor standards into account.
Companies are still allowed to use and recertify using OHSAS 18001:2007 throughout mid-2018. When not due for recertification before publication of ISO 45001, now would be the best time to start implementing according to this new standard. This will lead to enhanced acceptance, lower overall costs, and above all, improved safety.
ISO 45001 will be intended to provide organizations with a framework to proactively improve health and safety performance in order to prevent workplace injuries. The standard can be integrated with an organization’s management process which will help streamline various health and safety operations. One major, new component in the ISO 45001 framework is employee participation. Since some of the people working in high risk environments are usually the subject matter experts, ISO 45001 will ensure that they are involved in the implementation and maintenance of a proper ehs management system. This will allow them to safely manage and prevent risk.
One of the discussion points for ISO 45001 that caused the delay was to include improvements to the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment framework. It now recommends that workers should be able to immediately report and address any situation that has an imminent risk of causing injury or illness without the risk of being penalized. This already is a common practice in most of the industry, but since it's part of the standard, it enforces contractors to provide these instructions to their employees as well.Besides improving employee involvement and awareness with regard to safety, ISO 45001 will also encourage organizations to develop plans in order to eliminate occupational incidents. In terms of personnel competencies, the focus will likely shift from ‘just’ training to proving proficiency. One example of a tool that can be used to prevent workplace incidents is safety observation cards. With these cards, employees can flag unsafe operations and talk about them in team meetings. Compliance tasks also play a key role in the effort to achieve a safe and healthy work environment.
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This post was previously published on March 11, 2016. Changes were made to reflect the latest ISO 45001 updates.