ISO 45001 Safety and Health Standard

A new international standard for occupational health and safety is due to be published next year.

ISO 45001 is the future replacement to OHSAS 18001 and will become the international ISO standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS).

Not only will the standard supersede OHSAS 18001, it will make integration with other management systems simpler than ever before; because it shares the new common structure defined by Annex SL, it is directly aligned with the 2015 versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Every year an estimated 2.78 Million people die across the world from an accident at work or an illness caused by work activities. These include cancer, falls from height, asbestos exposure and being hit by a moving vehicle.  The consequences of such injuries and deaths have a huge impact on employers resulting in early retirement, rising costs of insurance premiums, staff absence and of course not to mention the effect on reputation and productivity in the workplace.

However despite all of this British industry has changed substantially since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) in 1974 and data shows there have been large reductions in work-related injury and (since 1990) the overall scale of ill health.

Below are some of the latest figures published by the Health and Safety Executive on workplace illness and injury.

Key figures for Great Britain (2015/16)

  • 3 millionworking people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 2,542mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2015)
  • 137workers killed at work (2016/17)
  • 72,702other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 621,000injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 4 millionworking days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £14.1 billionestimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2014/15)

The new standard is also intended to reduce the toll on employers and will be the first global standard of its kind, giving organisations a universally accepted framework for improving health and safety, reducing workplace risks and offering employees safer work conditions and a healthier workforce.

Many organisations already have accreditation via OHSAS 18001. The certification bodies are already preparing to support those companies to migrate to the new system and provide guidelines and training to help make the switch as smooth as possible.

It is proposed that the new standard will be approved by the roundtable discussion taking place in November at the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety Conference with publication expected in May or June 2018.

Once of the organisations involved in the standard has been the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH). They believe that for employers to embrace the new standard will require leadership, resources and strategic attention. Investing in staff is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a business as it can provide cost benefits, enhanced productivity, loyalty and increased sustainability. An employee who is happy in their job and feels appreciated and looked after is more likely to perform better and stay longer in their role.

More information on the standard can be found on the ISO website.

The IOSH Conference will take place on 20-21st November. To book a place visit the IOSH website.

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