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Written by
on 09 November 2018


ISO 45001 is the new internationally recognised occupational health and safety management system replacing ISO 18001 standard – this is why you should implement it, today.

According to statistics quoted by the International Organisation for Standardisation, over 2.78 million people die every year as a result of work-related accidents or diseases. Fortunately, the UK only accounts for a tiny fraction of that total – but there are still people dying needlessly because of their work.

To help reduce the number of fatalities, the International Organisation for Standardisation has introduced the ISO 45001 occupational health and safety standard. ISO 45001 provides a framework to improve employee and workplace safety.

It’s worthwhile noting, that ISO 45001 standard replaces ISO 18001 so you will need to upgrade if you still wish to get the most from this industry standard. We can help you.

So, why do we need ISO 45001?

Why would you choose to implement a management system? Is ISO 45001 just more (unwanted) bureaucracy?

Absolutely not.

Responsible businesses already use various techniques, such as risk assessments, to manage health and safety on site. But all too often these methods are disjointed and incomplete.

A management system provides a way to formalise risk planning, creating a template framework that makes future assessments easier – and faster – to complete. Taking a structured approach to managing health and safety also reduces the chances of risk factors being overlooked or ignored. Going beyond the physical concerns of a risk assessment, ISO compliance means looking at additional factors including social factors, leadership and the culture in your workplace.

Bringing your team on board

Everyone in your organisation has a part to play to help raise standards and improve health and safety. But first, you must engage your employees, ensuring they “buy in” to the program.

The formalised structure of ISO 45001 demonstrates your commitment to improving conditions for employees – not least because the standard requires senior management to take responsibility and accountability for health and safety. This then becomes the first step toward building a culture of safety-first working.

The framework also helps your employees understand where they “fit” and the role they play in making work safe. Not least because they will need ISO 4500 training.

International standards and the law

ISO 45001 is an internationally recognised way to focus efforts on raising standards. Achieving compliance certification is also useful for demonstrating your commitment to health and safety to third parties like insurers – or even the Health and Safety Executive.

It is important to note that ISO 45001 holds no legal weight, however. The framework does not override the Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 either. But it can help keep you on the right side of the law by focusing efforts on preventing workplace accidents. Achieving compliance actually requires you to include legal obligations as part of your OH&S management system planning.

Don’t go it alone

Achieving ISO 45001 compliance is a detailed, complex – but wholly worthwhile – process. Trying to complete the required activities in-house is resource intensive – and therefore expensive. Instead, you should seriously consider partnering with an ISO 45001 Auditor who can take you step by step through the standard and achieve accreditation.

To learn more about how Veritas Consulting can help you achieve the ISO standard or help you upgrade from ISO 18001 – please get in touch.

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A chartered (fellow) safety and risk management practitioner with 20+ years of experience. David provides a healthy dose of how-to articles, advice and guidance to make compliance easier for construction professionals, Architects and the built environment. Get social with David on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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