If you are one of the smart Australian organisations that has turned to using International Standards to meet customer and employee expectations, there are some changes you need to consider.
The very nature of Standards is that they do change, to reflect what's happening in the world and in the marketplace. And this time its workplace safety that's under the spotlight.
OHSAS 18001 is Changing
Businesses already using OHSAS 18001, or those intending to implement a safety management system, should talk to ISO consultants soon. OHSAS 18001 is changing, to make it more effective in the global marketplace.
That means that organisations planning ISO safety management system training in 2017, or seeking integrated safety management system certification, may be affected.
Poor workplace safety management costs Australian businesses millions of dollars every year, in compensation claims, sick pay, downtime, and lost production. It also costs lives. It is every employer's responsibility to implement an effective safety management system.
Effective Workplace Safety System
Published in 1999, OHSAS 18001 has been a most effective workplace health and safety management system. It has provided organisations with a framework in which to implement their systems, and a benchmark against which they can measure their performance.
Now OHSAS 18001 is being replaced with ISO 45001, bringing it more into line with other ISO management systems. The new standard has been produced by an ISO project committee, and is currently in draft form.
It is said to be easier to implement than OHSAS 18001, but further reaching in terms of effectiveness and safety. Businesses must now look further than just their own workplace safety issues, and consider what others expect of them in those terms.
More Focus on Leadership
ISO 45001 will require organisations to integrate safety into their management plan, rather than delegating it to a safety manager. It will also demand a stronger leadership role from management.
Whereas OHSAS 18001 focussed more on identifying and controlling workplace hazards, ISO 45001 wants businesses to focus more on the risks, which should help stop many of these hazards before they even start.
It also takes workplace safety beyond its own doors, taking into account how other stakeholders, such as contractors and suppliers, manage their health and safety issues.
Protecting Australian Workers
These are all important changes that will serve to protect Australian workers and reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths in the workplace.
One of the easiest ways of assimilating these changes is to consider seeking integrated safety management system certification. Integrated systems are generally found to save businesses time and money, reducing documentation and duplication. They bring the issue of workplace safety to the forefront, and make it a central part of the overall management system.
Working Towards a Safer Future
The health and safety of our workers should not be an add-on, or an annoying task that has to be done sometime; it should be central to how an organisation operates day to day, and in its plans for the future.
Neither the buying public nor the authorities will tolerate anything less than 100% commitment to workplace safety in the future. What's more, a poor reputation for safety will also stop bigger organisations from partnering with Australian businesses, so it must be addressed.