The introduction of ISO 45001:2018 has created some welcome enhancements to occupational health and safety certification and best practice. Those already certified to OHSAS 18001 have less than three years to migrate to the new standard and Kate Breslin, product manager at SGS, explains all you need to know.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), in 2017 there were 2.78 million fatal accidents at work. Not surprisingly, occupational health and safety is in the spotlight more than ever and since it was introduced in 1999 OHSAS 18001 has helped to enhance the development of accident prevention and risk management strategies. In March this year ISO 45001:2018 was ratified and will supersede OHSAS 18001, which will be withdrawn in 2021, and organisations are being urged to make the migration to the new standard.
Mind and matter
When we think of health and safety it is usually physical protection that springs to mind. While this is obviously important, so too is the psychological wellbeing of employees and the introduction of ISO 45001:2018 came soon after the Thriving at Work report, which was led by mental health campaigner, Dennis Stevenson, and Paul Farmer, chief executive at Mind and chair of the National Health Service (NHS) Mental Health Taskforce. It made 40 recommendations for businesses, regulators, the government and the public sector after it found one worker in six suffers from a mental illness and 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems lose their jobs every year.
The report also called on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to increase its focus on mental health during inspections and set out a framework that all UK employers, no matter what their size or industry, should implement to quickly address any issues. As a result, as well as protecting workers from workplace related injury and ill health, ISO 45001:2018 will help ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support.
Standards are constantly evolving and ISO 45001:2018 builds on the established foundations of OHSAS 18001. It is designed to integrate with other ISO management systems standards to create an all-encompassing system.
The structure of this new standard will be based on ISO’s Annex SL and is also based upon the Plan, Do, Check, Act structure pioneered by management quality expert, W Edwards Deming. This is used to ensure that the hazards and risks associated with an organisation’s activities, products and services are systematically identified, assessed, controlled, monitored and continuously improved.
The framework for Annex SL consists of 10 clauses, which render all ISO management systems more compatible and consistent, giving writers, management and auditors the advantage of a basic set of generic requirements as a guideline to follow. It has simplified the use of ISO management systems and eliminated the differences previously experienced in the perception and implementation of such standards. By providing standardised text, terms and definitions for management system standards, Annex SL has also lowered the administrative costs for organisations that choose to apply more than one standard.