Exploring ISO 45001 main principles

The Standard for Occupational Health and Safety

The Standard for Occupational Health and Safety is ISO 45001(OH&S). This widely accepted standard offers businesses a way to better control health and safety concerns and cut expenses in the process.

The standard, which was published in March 2018, replaces OHSAS 18001 and permits management system integration with other ISO standards, which offers a more efficient method of managing numerous systems.

In this article we explore the ISO 45001 main principles.

ISO 45001 provides a framework for managing risks and opportunities and is designed to improve organisational performance in the following areas: protecting the physical, psychological, and mental health of workers, controlling risks, providing protection against injury and/or ill health, and providing a safe and healthy workplace.

Some of the aims of the standard include presenting new approaches to activity management, including understanding the context of the activities, locating relevant stakeholders, outlining risks and opportunities, and ranking preventive measures in order of importance.

Implementing ISO 45001 will enable an organisation to foresee the key problems that may influence, either favourably or adversely, the achievement of health and safety goals if, for instance, it looks more closely at the frequency of exposure to hazards, the severity of impacts, or the amount of supplier awareness of safety instructions.

But what are the ISO 45001 main principles?

ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System Principles:

The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, which offers a framework for a company to evaluate the effectiveness of its OH&S, is the foundation of the ISO 45001 Standard. Organisations plan and implement the actions necessary to reduce OHSMS risks and damages and ensure continuous development.

Plan: examine and evaluate OH&S risks and opportunities, set OH&S goals and objectives, and identify ways to achieve the desired results.

Do: complete the processes you’ve designed by putting them into action, and make sure everyone is aware of their own roles and responsibilities in doing so.

Check: monitor and measure activities and review the effectiveness of the processes established in achieving the set objectives.

Act: communicate findings and take steps to spur ongoing development targeted at reaching desired outcomes.

Implementing an Occupational Health and Safety Management System such as ISO 45001:

There are many benefits that come with implementing a health and safety management system. Some of these include;

  • Determining the dangers connected with the OH&S, reduces health and safety risks, or completely remove them.
  • Clearly defining your performance objectives for workplace health and safety.
  • Describing the concepts of the ISO 45001:2018 occupational health and safety management system.
  • Identifying steps to do to create an efficient system for managing occupational health and safety.
  • Reviewing and reporting OH&S performance data for ongoing development.
  • Identifying everyone’s role with regards to OH&S and ensuring accountability.

Some of the benefits of implementing ISO 45001 with Compliant can be found through our client case studies and their experience of getting started with the standard. Visit our case studies here.

HSE and ISO 45001

HSE describes ISO certification as a national and international standards group that is independent of the government with ISO 45001 as an international standard for health and safety at work.

Companies have three years to transition from the BS OHSAS 18001 standard to the new one.

Although ISO 45001 and other management standards are not mandated by law, they can assist in offering a systematic framework for guaranteeing a safe and healthy workplace.

HSE adds that you’ll probably be able to demonstrate good risk management without a formal management system if your organisation is small or low-risk.

HSE’s view on ISO 45001:

“Implementing ISO 45001 may help your organisation demonstrate compliance with health and safety law. But, in some respects, it 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

This may particularly be the case if you’re adopting management standards to meet supply chain requirements of customers or contracting bodies.

HSE is concerned about the practical implementation of the standard, including audit and certification, and whether it can be easily tailored to work effectively for organisations of all sizes and levels of complexity in a way that’s in proportion to the risks they must control.

Contracting bodies and customers should therefore ask themselves whether the supplier really needs certification to 45001, or whether they can demonstrate competence in managing health and safety using other means.”

Read on to discover the ISO 45001 main principles.

Clauses within the ISO 45001 standard

Context (Clause 4)

ISO 45001 considers the context of the organisation when providing guidance in certain areas or how potential internal and external influences might impact it.

Whatever the change may be including cultural, social, political, legal, financial, technological, environmental, or driven by the market organisations must be adaptable in order to handle it.

Understanding the environment in which the organisation operates is important for managing the demands and expectations of employees and interested parties. The nature and reach of an OH&S management system are framed by this.

Compliant support with this clause by providing a SWOT and PESTLE analysis for businesses and offering internal audits to review these on an annual basis for surveillance audits.

Leadership and Employee Engagement (Clause 5)

The leadership’s job is to actively promote, support, and grow the OH&S management system, which sets standards and promotes principles centred around safety.

This is accomplished by working with others and putting in place mechanisms designed to reduce risks and hazards while fostering a culture of safety.

The guideline places a strong emphasis on top management’s accountability and responsibility. This is accomplished by developing an OH&S policy and putting it into practice using a strong OH&S management system.

Although operational tasks, responsibilities, and power may be outsourced for practical reasons, senior management still retains ultimate responsibility. Documented evidence must be provided on roles and responsibilities and during audits, senior management must be able to show how employees are recruited and trained. New and current employees must be aware of a company’s OH&S management system, where to find documents relating to the system and what their overall contribution to the delivery of the system is.

For smaller companies, Compliant can provide training, training documents and/or employment templates to support this clause.

Planning (Clause 6)

Companies must identify the risks that their operations help to avert and ensure that they are handled in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Also, any modifications to these systems need to be updated and documented.

For risk assessment, the hierarchy of hazard controls should be applied. The evaluation should be used to guide the development of OH&S objectives, and the layout of the OH&S management systems should take into account the workplace dangers.

Section 6 within the management system that Compliant provide offers an objectives, risks and opportunities matrix with a RAG system. This risk assessment tool is a key asset in any audit and helps businesses to track risks and show thought-out mitigating actions to reduce those risks. 

Support (Clause 7)

The organisation must provide all the tools necessary to set up, keep up, and constantly enhance the OH&S management system. For instance, teaching employees in risk avoidance and hazard detection is one of these resources.

Legal and other restrictions should be followed when using any type of communication. They should be kept on systems that are suitable and enable quick retrieval for audit, update, or verification. This covers all forms of digital data, such as media, images, and audio recordings.

Compliant offers templates to support this clause including health and safety briefing templates.

Operation (Clause 8)

The functioning criteria for the organisation are included in this section of the standard. It also covers how workplaces with numerous employers might coordinate pertinent OH&S management system components with other businesses.

This includes providing documents that cover areas such as DSE, fire risks, risk assessments, PPE, LOLER and COSHH. Compliant is trained in all of these areas and can support with onsite risk assessments and templates to ensure companies are covered.

Performance Assessment (Clause 9)

Companies must assess the effectiveness of their safety management systems and track their development toward reaching their OH&S goals.

This should be done through the use of properly designed retrieval methods and documented and stored documentation. These records need to be regularly updated and maintained.

These records should offer a transparent audit trail and can be utilised to confirm standard compliance. Folder 9 within our management pack includes an audit programme and documented internal audits. Anything arising from these internal audits can be added to the non-conformity log template which we also supply and complete to cover clause 10.

Improvement (Clause 10)

Companies should constantly be searching for methods to enhance their performance in OH&S.

When events or non-conformities occur, they should move quickly to address the issue, fix it, and deal with any potential repercussions. Following the incident, the event should be evaluated to address its underlying causes and any systemic flaws.

Before implementation, the risks related to new processes or systems should be evaluated.

Any findings from previous audits are also added to the nonconformity log by Compliant and closed out before the following year’s surveillance.

What are the ISO 45001 main principles

ISO 45001 main principles

ISO 45001 main principles and investing in an OH&S management system:

Learn to recognise your hazards

A preventive, rather than a curative, approach must be taken in order to implement an OH&S management system based on ISO 45001. The goal is to be able to spot circumstances that could put workers in danger before a serious incident happens. The standard thus promotes a proactive mentality, with appropriate actions planned to safeguard both the organisation and the workers (from musculoskeletal ailments, psychosocial risks, occupational diseases, etc.).

Lower accident rates and associated expenses

It is possible to stop many incidents by putting in place reliable and efficient mechanisms. Your business will experience a decline in the number of occupational accidents and direct costs as the ISO 45001 standard spurs the organisation to enhance its performance over time.

By pursuing ISO 45001 certification, companies demonstrate their commitment to the health and welfare of employees as well as to continuous safety improvement.

Increase awareness among all employees

As it calls on senior management to communicate and collaborate with all employees to improve working conditions, make the workplace safer, and decrease risks, ISO 45001 serves as the foundation for a participative approach. This ongoing interaction raises everyone’s awareness within the organisation.

Employ a straightforward strategy

Record-keeping and processes are no longer required. Now it is up to the work teams to choose their own operational tools and means that are suitable for their individual requirements.

The framework for the new management system standards is already present in businesses that have received ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and/or integrated certification.

An integrated management system combines all aspects of an organisation’s systems, processes, and standards. This integration allows for a much more streamlined approach and can be a cost-effective way of becoming certified. If you would like to find out more about an integrated management system and how we can help, contact our team today.

Boost the perception of your company and protect your reputation

The quality of life at work is improved by reducing tragic accidents and improving working circumstances, which also boosts the employer’s reputation.

Improved risk management lowers absenteeism, worker turnover, and production interruptions, which boosts customer confidence in the business.

Adopting a global standard communicates favourably to clients who place a high value on social responsibility and due diligence.

Still not sure on the ISO 45001 main principles? Even after exploring the benefits and principles of ISO 45001 some businesses are still unconvinced about making the investment. In an earlier article we explore ISO 45001 certification cost. This article can help business owners make the decision about whether or not to progress with ISO certification.

Getting started with your health and safety management system

Achieving a safe and dependable environment for employees and business stakeholders is made possible by implementing ISO 45001. The standard enables businesses and senior management to enhance their health and safety operations. Meeting the prerequisites guarantees that you’ll keep an eye out for trends and weigh your options.

As a business with an ISO 45001 certification, you will take proactive measures to attempt and reduce the possibility of significant risks. It is crucial that organisations with significant physical demands, such factories and oil refineries, have an active OH&S management system in place because these organisations are more likely to suffer major injuries.

If you would like more information on how to get 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.

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