ISO 45001 and business health and safety

ISO 45001 and Health and Safety – how are the two linked and if my business implements ISO 45001 am I covering all health and safety considerations?

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) released the ISO 45001 international standard for “Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)” Management System in 2018. This standard was last reviewed and confirmed in 2022. The standard replaced OHSAS 18001 and permits management system integration with other ISO standards, including ISO 9001, ISO 22301, ISO 27001 and ISO 45001.

Businesses can use the framework provided by ISO 45001 to implement a health and safety management system that improves workplace safety, reduces risks, and boosts general wellness.

The ISO 45001 standard can be used by businesses of all sizes and in any industry, and it fits the same high-level structure as other ISO standards like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Incorporating ISO 45001 into an existing management system such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 allows businesses to create a fully integrated management system.

Compliant can support businesses in implementing ISO 45001 on its own or as fully integrated management system.

Read of to discover more about ISO 45001 and business health and safety.

The Health and Safety Executive and health and safety management systems

The HSE explains that in some respects, ISO 45001 “goes beyond what the law requires, so consider carefully whether to adopt it.

If your organisation already has a developed health and safety management structure, or you’re familiar with other management standards, it may be straightforward for you to adopt ISO 45001. However, if your organisation is small, with less formal management processes, you may find it difficult to:

  • interpret what the standard asks for
  • gauge what proportionate implementation looks like”

HSE also explains that “HSE inspectors will continue to rely on a wide range of evidence and observations when assessing an organisation’s compliance with health and safety law, not just whether they claim to meet the ISO 45001 standard or not.”

Having ISO 45001 in place will help your business to demonstrate compliance with health and safety law but as described above by the HSE it goes above what the law requires.

Businesses thinking about getting started with ISO need to consider;

  • the actual application of the standard, including certification and audit. Does your business have enough resources and expertise to implement the standard?
  • if it is readily adaptable to the size and complexity of your business in a manner that is proportionate to the risks you must control. Does your business need support to meet timescales including your stage 1 and stage 2 audits?

Compliant can help with all of the above. We have supported a range of businesses in implementing ISO 45001 both as an individual management system and as part of an integrated management system.

Our bespoke management systems offer documents as evidence that adhere to each of the ISO 45001 clause’s requirements in detail. We have supported businesses of all sizes and across a range of industries, offering low rates and payment plans.

In an earlier article we explore ISO 45001 principles which will help when deciding whether investing in ISO 45001 will support an effective health and safety system.

Top tips for getting started with ISO 45001 and business health and safety

Here are our top tips to help build out your health and safety management system ready for ISO 45001 certification:

  1. Define your system’s scope, taking into account the goals you have for your management system.
  2. Conduct a study of the internal and external elements that might have an impact on your business as well as the context of your organisation that is relevant to health and safety (such as interested parties).
  3. Establish your health and safety policy and goals.
  4. Specify the time frame in which you want to put your system into place and make a plan on how to do it.
  5. Identify any skill or resource shortages that must be filled before the standard may be implemented.

Compliant can support your business with all these tips and supply templates where necessary to ensure that you are audit ready.

Why invest in ISO 45001 as part of your health and safety management system?

While preventing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are the main benefits of having a health and safety management system, there are numerous other advantages. These include:

  • enhanced health and safety risk management;
  • enhanced health and safety performance in your company, safeguarding those who work for both you and any potential victims of your actions;
  • a more accurate recognition of possibilities to enhance health and safety management;
  • fostering a culture of cooperation to boost employee engagement;
  • engaging in productive health and safety efforts that align with your corporate objectives;
  • enhancements to the quality of products, processes, and services;
  • improved workplace motivation;
  • enhanced staff retention and recruitment;
  • a more positive reputation and image (among clients, suppliers, and the community in which you operate);
  • increased profit due to less financial losses incurred by accidents and absenteeism.
how to get ISO 45001 certification?

ISO 45001 and business health and safety; What are the requirements of ISO 45001?

Perhaps you want to further understand the requirements of ISO 45001 and what you will need to look for when assessing your own health and safety management system.

The criteria of ISO 45001 include:

  • Context of the organisation – You must take into account both internal and external factors that have an impact on your organisation if you want your occupational health and safety system to be relevant and useful for all involved. You must also be aware of the people who these problems may affect. This may include guests and contractors who are not employees of your company.
  • Leadership and employee involvement – This promotes both managerial commitment and staff involvement. Everyone in your business must understand the impact of being certified to ISO 45001 and what their role and responsibility is in contribution to the certification.
  • Planning – This involves developing a detailed strategy to recognise, assess, and control occupational health and safety concerns. Opportunities and risks must be assessed in relation to health and safety objectives.
  • Support – This entails giving your occupational health and management system the tools and resources it needs to be implemented, operated, and maintained. This can include offering personnel training and PPE (personal protective equipment). Records and logs must be kept of all training and equipment.
  • Operation – This relates to evaluating protocols and noting legal requirements. Risk analyses may play a significant role in this requirement. Compliant can provide an audit proof risk register that aligns to your business opportunities and objectives.
  • Performance assessment – You must monitor and assess health and safety performance in order to determine whether your health and safety management system is effective.
  • Improvement – this is a crucial criterion that demonstrates how you are always looking for ways to improve your health and safety management system.

Who would gain from adopting ISO 45001 and business health and safety?

Any organisation, no matter how big or little, in any sector, that wants to increase workplace safety, reduce threats to occupational health and safety, and promote a healthy workplace could implement ISO 45001.

We have helped a range of businesses to achieve ISO 45001 including Atom Water Treatment, whose full case study can be viewed here.

Substitutes for ISO 45001?

If your business is small or low-risk, adopting a large formalised management system approach might not be the best strategy. Your organisation may benefit from;

  1. Managing health and safety internally which offers a precise, process-based approach to risk management.
  2. Putting the standard into practice but not pushing ahead with certification.
  3. Considering whether it is necessary for your certification body to hold accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. Going with a non-accredited body can offer a cheaper alternative.

Implementing a health and safety management system with Compliant

Implementing a health and safety management system with Compliant can ensure the wellbeing of employees, compliance with regulations, and the overall success of your organisation. Here’s our step-by-step guide for getting started:

  1. Gain commitment from Leadership:

Obtain commitment from top management to prioritise health and safety and assign responsibility for the health and safety management system to a qualified individual or team.

  1. Understand Legal and Regulatory Requirements:

Identify and understand all relevant health and safety laws and regulations that apply to your industry and location. Compliant can provide an up to date legal register that highlights all applicable health and safety laws.

  1. Establish Objectives and Targets:

Define clear health and safety objectives and measurable targets that align with your organisation’s goals.

  1. Risk Assessment:

Identify and assess potential hazards in your workplace; evaluate the risks associated with these hazards.

  1. Develop Policies and Procedures:

Create health and safety policies that outline your organisation’s commitment and approach. Develop specific procedures for managing identified risks.

  1. Employee Training and Awareness:

Provide training to employees regarding health and safety policies, procedures, and practices. Ensure that employees are aware of potential hazards and how to mitigate them.

  1. Emergency Preparedness:

Develop emergency response plans for various scenarios, such as fires, natural disasters, or chemical spills. Conduct drills and exercises to ensure everyone knows how to respond effectively.

  1. Incident Reporting and Investigation:

Establish a system for reporting incidents, accidents, and near-misses. Investigate incidents to identify root causes and implement corrective actions.

  1. Documentation and Record-Keeping:

Maintain comprehensive records of health and safety activities, including risk assessments, training, incident reports, and audits. This includes internal and external audits.

  1. Continuous Improvement:

Regularly review and update your HSMS to account for changes in regulations, technology, or work processes.

Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure and improve safety performance.

  1. Auditing and Inspections:

Conduct regular internal audits and inspections to ensure compliance with policies and procedures. Correct any identified deficiencies promptly.

  1. Supplier and Contractor Management:

Ensure that suppliers and contractors adhere to your health and safety standards. Evaluate their safety performance and consider it in your selection process.

  1. Communication and Reporting:

Establish clear lines of communication for reporting safety concerns or suggestions. Report health and safety performance to management and employees regularly.

  1. Employee Involvement:

Encourage employees to actively participate in the health and safety management system by involving them in safety committees or teams. Recognise and reward contributions to safety.

  1. Review and Certification:

Periodically review your health and safety management system to assess its relevance.

  1. Crisis Management:

Develop a crisis management plan to handle major incidents and disasters. Ensure that all employees understand their roles in crisis situations.

  1. Documentation and Reporting:

Maintain thorough records of all health and safety activities, including incidents, inspections, training, and risk assessments.

  1. Training and Competence:

Continuously provide training to employees to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their tasks safely.

  1. Feedback and Improvement:

Encourage employees to provide feedback on the health and safety management system and suggest improvements. Act on this feedback to enhance the system over time.

  1. External Review:

Periodically engage external experts or auditors to assess your health and safety management system for impartial evaluations and recommendations.

Remember that an effective health and safety management system is an ongoing process that requires commitment, resources, and a culture of safety within your organisation. It’s also crucial to tailor your system to your organisation’s specific needs and continually monitor and adjust it to improve safety performance.

Compliant has developed a Health and Safety checklist to help you tick off what is required for every clause within the ISO 45001 standard. Check out the full list here.

Getting started with a health and safety management system

ISO 45001 enables businesses and senior management to enhance their health and safety operations. If you decide to get started with Complaint Interest free monthly payments; certification and post certification support including design, documentation, implementation support, training and internal audits; management of the certification process including liaising with an independent UKAS accredited assessment body; support with grant funding where applicable and support on audit days.

If you would like more information on how to get ISO 45001 certified, we’d be happy to arrange a call to talk about your options. Alternatively, if you would like a quotation at any point just fill in our FREE quote calculator.