What does an OH&S Management System do?
Poor Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management can have a negative effect on any business. It can result in higher insurance premiums, the loss of key personnel, regulatory action, reputational damage, business interruption and the loss of customers.
Introduced in 1999 by the British Standards Institute (BSI), the OHSAS 18001 standard was one of the only true internationally recognised documents, alongside the ILO Guidelines on OSH Management Systems (ILO-OSH 2001).
OHSAS 18001 is renowned for its ability to improve Health and Safety in the workplace, not just for staff but for customers too, having helped more than 900,000 organisations worldwide to reduce risks, improve staff morale and save money.
Why do businesses need the new ISO 45001 standard?
With more than 40 versions of the OHSAS 18001 standard used worldwide today, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has decided, like with many previous national standards, to create one, universally adaptable standard that will incorporate and supersede all those former standards. This new standard has been named ISO 45001.
ISO 45001 has been developed so that OHS Management can be more easily aligned with the management system approaches adopted by other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 – which both underwent upgrades in September 2015.
The new ISO 45001 standard enjoyed input from a number of safety practitioner bodies including the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
What are the differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 will follow the same Annex SL structure that is used in standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001, making system integration much easier for certified businesses. The Annex SL structure will use common text throughout and will also cover the following:
- Context of the organisation
- Performance evaluation
A lot of the requirements of the new standard will be similar to those within OHSAS 18001, so organisations already certified to OHSAS 18001 should find switching to the new standard fairly straight forward.
The new standard offers a slightly different definition of the terms ‘Risk’, ’Worker’ and ‘Workplace’, as well as introducing new concepts, for example:
Context of the organisation – This will identify the external and internal factors affecting the organisation in order to prepare the foundation for the effective management of risk.
Leadership – This will require that top management takes full ownership of, and responsibility for, OHS management and that effective controls are put in place.
Management of change – This will ensure that the organisation effectively plans and manages changes to the OH&S management system in order to avoid any deterioration in performance.
When can we expect to see the new ISO 45001 standard?
Final publication of ISO 45001 is due in October 2016.
According to the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, there are 860 000 occupational accidents every day and the direct or indirect cost of occupational illness and accidents at work is estimated to be approximately GBP 1.8 Trillion, worldwide. By introducing the new international standard for OHS Management it is believed that this could help to save more lives, reduce accidents further and improve employee morale around the world.