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A new global standard for occupational health and safety


The first internationally recognised health and safety standard has been published. It is known as ISO 45001. Promoting a risk-based approach to Health and safety, the hope is that adoption of the standard will result in improved safety levels, better management of psychological health and safety and a better protected workforce.

The standard has been eagerly awaited for three reasons:

1. it will compel those who adopt it to make health and safety an integral part of business strategy rather than a bolt-on activity;

2. it will highlight safety responsibilities to those in the boardroom;

3. it will put an onus on greater worker participation and consultation.

Will you adopt the standard?

The new ISO 45001 standard follows the same framework as the quality standard ISO 9001 and the environmental standard ISO 14001. Some believe that following the same framework will enable quality, sustainability, and health and safety to be managed more effectively.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) publishing two new standards on health and safety BS 45002-1 and BS 45002-3.

Sounds like a lot of standards and numbers to remember and a lot to get your head around. They say the two new standards are written in PLAIN ENGLISH to make it easier for businesses.

In a recent Health & Safety at work article it is explained how they can be used independently or to support implementation of the new international occupational health and safety standard, ISO 45001.

BS 45002-1 focuses on managing occupational health, and was developed with input from those involved with drafting ISO 45001, including representatives from the HSE.

BS 45002-3, on incident investigation, sets out the practical steps to take when an accident occurs. It provides guidance on gathering evidence and the importance of investigating the root causes of health and safety incidents in the workplace.

The HSE plans to publish new employer guidance on work-related stress, a guide to implementing ISO 45001 “proportionately”, in the hope that it sets out a sensible approach to implementation of the new standard. They are also promising to publish revised guidance for employers on the assessment and management of work-related mental ill health.

There are plenty of reasons for the new standard and plenty against adoption. For some businesses an ISO standards could enable them to win more business. Are you confident your business is meeting its obligations in health and safety management? With the pressure of business in today's climate now is the time to review your safety management practices and ensure you are up to date with the safety standards. If you need assistance with understanding the new standard and managing health & safety within your business, speak to one of our consultants.

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