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New OHS Standard ISO 45001 and Globalisation

Posted by Ian Good on 27 September 2016

Last year, two of the most implemented ISO standards (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001) were updated to significantly new and uniform versions and the OHS standards are undergoing the same transformation. With this change, AS 4801 safety management systems will need to be certified to a new Draft International Standard, ISO/DIS 45001.

The new standard attempts to transcend the current way organisations understand and manage their OHS requirements and approaches to best practice. The focus has shifted from safety in the immediate workplace, to a broader view, requiring organisations to consider the wider implications for their communities and society as a whole. It is a risk management approach and broadens the responsibilities and roles of safety for everyone in the workplace.

The standard is less prescriptive than AS 4801 and each organisation needs to develop its own OHS management system, specific to meeting its own needs in preventing workplace injury. There is a clear requirement to strategic planning and objectives that has been set. Management will need to be able to outline their rationale to their planning and show evidence of measurable results against established criteria. ISO 45001 does lay down guidelines for such things as hazard identification and risk however an organisation wishing to be certified will need to have formal strategic plans.

One of the most important changes is in the approach to risk management. Where an OHSAS 18001 safety management system includes hazard identification, ISO 45001 looks at improvement, risk evaluation and opportunity. It's a move to a preventative approach rather than a reactive one and preventative approaches require planning at the most senior level of the organisation.

It acknowledges that the people doing the job are the people with the best understanding of the possible dangers in the system, and the best people to come up with an alternative. The ISO 45001 re-enforces the legislative approach adopt in the Australian legislation and for many companies, the engagement of the workforce is at the core of successful operations.

The use and management of contractors is also emphasised in ISO 45001 as it recognises the increasing trend to use contractors or outsource work. The Standard requires controls in place both for day-to-day operation as well as for emergency situations for outsourced or contracted personnel.

ISO 45001 also broadens the involvement of the local community and ensures that the local community is not put at risk by a company's workplace practices. A business with a strong reputation in the community for being ethical, responsible and sustainable will arguably find it easier to gain and maintain the loyalty of customers both in the local community and beyond.

Specifically, ISO 45001 will provide a framework for all organisations to identify and manage OHS risks, minimise the risk of workplace accidents, improve workplace safety, and measure compliance from each provider in their business systems, local or overseas.

Need more information in preparing for the transition across to ISO 45001?

To date, JAS-ANZ has not yet made any decisions regarding the adoption of the new standard nor has any of the JAS-ANZ auditing organisations. One of the reasons is that it is still a Draft International Standard. ISO have issued a plan for further 'Enquiry Stages' over the coming 12 months, with a formal approval in September 2017 and publication date of December 2017.

As the new Victorian OHS Regulations will be gazetted in June 2017, 2017 is an ideal time to review your current OHS management system and develop plans to make the transition to ISO 45001 from your certified OHSAS 18001 or AS 4801 safety management systems. 

Please contact HAZCON to discuss your organisations needs with our expert consultants or visit our website on www.hazcon.com.au

Author: Ian Good
Tags: Peter Attwood Ian Good

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