COVID-19 is proving that technology will change the way we work forever.
Anniversaries provide a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the past and look forward to what the future holds. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that these first few months of 2020 will bring change to the working environment in unprecedented ways.
The British Standards Institution (BSI) was established in 1901. Along with IOSH, it shares the honour of a Royal Charter that reflects the importance of the work we do nationally and internationally across industries to facilitate innovation, trade and consumer groups to make the world a better place.
By working with IOSH, BSI set out to achieve that aim, most notably in the development of health and safety management standards over the last quarter century. From the development of BS 8800 guide to occupational health and safety management systems, through its evolution to BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational health and safety management, and finally to its development in the international sphere as ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management.
It’s a partnership that continues to grow with IOSH contributing to the ISO working group that BSI chairs. The group focuses on the challenges faced by organisations now and in the future. This summer, we will see
the next standard in the suite available for public comment.
ISO 45003 Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety in the workplace is a guidance standard focusing much more on psychological health and wellbeing at work. In particular, it will look at the psychosocial risks arising from work such as bullying or unreasonable job demands. This will allow organisations to provide a much more holistic approach to physical, mental and cognitive health relating to work, to really put people at the centre of their organisation. The final standard is due to be published in 2021.
This couldn’t be more timely. As health and safety professionals, we have known that there is a greater need for psychological health management within the workplace, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this to an even greater extent.
'Whether it’s phone or videoconferencing, technology can help provide assurance in keeping workers safe and healthy'
As a result of COVID-19, we have seen that technology can provide greater flexibility and agility. While working from home is not without its health and safety challenges, it has shown that flexible working is not only possible, but productive and beneficial. The future will be one where more and more of us work in a more flexible way.
Technology will continue to change the way we work, even for what we may think of as traditional face-to-face activities, such as auditing. BSI has been using immersive technology for auditing and consulting for a number of years now, but the COVID-19 situation has brought this technology to a completely new audience as we support our clients to maintain their certification or migrate from OSHAS 18001 during this time. Whether it’s phone and videoconferencing or more immersive technologies such as smart glasses, we have seen that technology can help provide assurance in keeping workers safe and healthy.
I believe that the next 75 years will see a continued improvement in workplace health and safety globally and the ongoing partnership between BSI and IOSH will ensure that we rise to the challenges and opportunities the future holds.
For more than a century, BSI has been challenging mediocrity and complacency to help embed excellence into the way people and products work, and is now a global leader in helping organisations improve. bsigroup.com