We often talk about safety in terms of the United States and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But for companies with an international presence, safety extends well beyond the reaches of OSHA and U.S. federal standards.
And one of the biggest standards for companies to watch is ISO 45001.
We actually wrote about ISO 45001 two years ago, when it was due to enter the approval stage in November 2017. Now, with the standard active, we thought it was high time to revisit it and see what it means for companies today.
What Is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 (Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use) is a groundbreaker, the world’s first international health and safety standard. It offers a single framework for all organizations across the world to improve their occupational health and safety performance.
The standard is meant to be applicable to any organization, regardless of its size, type, and nature of its business. That said, the standard is especially applicable to senior management.
The premise is simple: to guarantee worker health and safety by controlling for factors that could potentially lead to injury, illness, or death. It is categorized as an ISO management standard and is intended to incorporate other ISO systems, which means it is posited as a part of ordinary business processes rather than a specialized process delegated to a safety manager.
Benefits of ISO 45001
Since the goal of ISO 45001 is safety clarification, implementation of the standard can benefit your safety program in a number of ways.
For a start, it forces you to develop, plan, and implement occupational safety and health policies and relevant objectives. It also demands that safety teams determine hazards and risks in the workplace and take steps to mitigate them, which increases overall safety awareness.
Compliance is also an excellent way to demonstrate corporate social responsibility, thus improving relationships with your stakeholders and with the public.
What ISO 45001 Means for Your EHS Team
In terms of your EHS team, the standard is what you make of it.
It is a global consensus standard and is not designed to be adopted by a single country as a legal requirement. This means that companies can voluntarily elect to comply with it. A country can encourage compliance, and many European countries look more favorably on ISO-compliant companies.
It is a valuable standard to follow for international trade, especially in Europe, where it’s viewed as the gold standard. To that end, it is beneficial for EHS teams to pursue ISO 45001 certification to ensure their organization is in the best possible trading position.
Mastering ISO Compliance
ISO 45001 is one of the most important standards for international companies, but it’s not the only standard by any stretch. For more tips on this and other ISO standards, make sure to check out our blog for more great posts, like this post on the value of ISO 14001 or this post on ISO 9001.
And if you need a tool to stay ahead of your compliance tasks, our ISO compliance management software is perfect for the job, allowing you to monitor, measure, and review all of your relevant systems and keep pace with every new development.