ISO 45001 was based on previous international recognised standards such as OHSAS 18001, the International Labor Organisation’s ILO-OSH Guidelines, many national standards and the ILO’s international labor standards and conventions. Basically ISO 45001 is a new international standard related to occupational health & safety (OH&S). The basic objective of ISO 45001 is to promote organisations in planning systems so they can avoid injury and ill health proactively and irrespective of their size or industry.
Each and every one of the ISO 45001 requirements within the standard is intended to be included into the management and business practices of an organisation. When adopting the standard, an initial gap analysis often is the best approach to outline the requirement which are currently not met. It is basically and audit of an organisation where the ISO 45001 requirements are the criteria audited against.
ISO 45001 has ten clauses which are designed to present a well-defined structure and set of requirements for the user. The first three sections offer information regarding standard scope, normative references, and terminology that is helpful in the understanding of ISO 45001. On the other hand, clause 4 to 10 provide the details of the standard’s requirements.
Clause 04: The fourth clause contains the details on organisation’s context. This section necessitates all organisations must evaluate and understand the context of its internal as well as external activities. In addition to that it requires understanding the needs of its stakeholders and other interested parties. More to the point, it will also consist of understanding the required information about legal matters, shareholders, employees, and stakeholders. Additionally, it will support with defining the scope of an organisation’s OH&S management system. In order to understand how ISO 45001 requirements will be incorporated in an organisation’s existing safety management system, it is essential to analyze existing standards and systems.
Clause 05: The fifth clause covers the aspects of leadership and participation of the organisation’s workforce. The management commitment as well as employees involvement is encouraged in this section. It leads toward an indirect outcome that health and safety must be implanted in organisational activities, rather than the concern of one accountable person, as in the past it was likely under the OHSAS 18001 terms. Task and responsibility sharing in the overall team allows sharing of knowledge, and increasing potential of team members in various areas working together in an effective as well as efficient team work. At this stage it holds paramount value to engage leadership so they can be educated on the significance of implementing ISO 45001. In order to make an informed decision, it is the responsibility of safety professionals to clearly explain to the executives regarding the monetary and operational impacts of implementing this kind of system.
Clause 06: Furthermore, the sixth clause is about the planning for the OH&S System for preventing undesired outcomes like the risk of workers getting injured or failures to fulfill legal requirements. Most importantly, this section deals with setting of objectives for the OH&S management system. This section focuses on objectives as a means of direction and performance evaluation as well as its improvement.
Clause 07: The seventh clause consists of support elements for example communication, resources, proficiency, understanding, and documented information. It is quite important for an organisation to make sure that input of top management holds a leading position in the communication process. Likewise, it must also be ensured that during the recording of key information as documented information the employees are consulted. These sorts of decisions can provide a satisfactory assurance that the organisation’s objectives and the OH&S management system are strongly connected.
Clause 08: In the eighth clause of this standard the details of operational controls and emergency awareness as well as responsiveness are addressed. This clause is more particular on the subject of outsourcing and procurement management. The ISO 45001 requirements are implying the fact that it should be assured by the organisation that the management retains the responsibility for risk and it is not transferred to the contractors. It must be kept in mind that in any health & safety management system the effective operational control is a decisive aspect, mainly in context of managing contractors.
Clause 09: Additionally, the ninth clause is about performance evaluation which focuses on observing and measuring the OH&S management system performance. It also takes account of conformity to legislation and the results of internal audit. In terms of this clause the active involvement of top management is very important, as it will ensure proper action plans for continual improvement.
Clause 10: The last and tenth clause emphasis on improvement as it specifies by what means an organisation is supposed to assure that continuous improvement is based on the OH&S management system. Now this can consist of effectively dealing with non-conformities and implementing suitable counter measures. Practically, an organisation can benefit by involving work teams in the process of designing counter measures, since they will be more effective at identifying the root cause of a problem on account of being direct part of the process. Similarly, this will make certain that the responsible team to avoid the re-occurrence of the issue possess ownership of the complete facts. As a result, they will be more cautious against a reoccurring violation which will strengthen the base for improved performance.
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