In June 2022, the ILO’s International Labour Conference added safety and health to their Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, reaffirming that good health and safety practices are essential. More and more organizations are looking for evidence to support their non-financial reporting requirements (under the S for ESG standards) to demonstrate their commitment to Social Value.
Kate Field, global head of health, safety and well-being at the British Standards Institute (BSI), provides practical advice on preventing work-related ill health or injury with an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system.
How can organizations prevent risks and improve current health and safety practices?
We’re seeing organizations understand the broad spectrum of factors contributing to a happy, healthy and resilient workplace. An effective occupational health and safety management system can help to protect and enhance the lifeblood of your organization and your people, to drive business excellence. By embracing a culture of care, trust and good mental health, you can create a future-proof business with comprehensive health and safety foundations.
What is ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management and how does it contribute to workplace health and safety to create an authentic culture of trust?
ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system, is the world’s first OHS ISO standard. The standard is proven to reduce work-related injury and ill health plus continually improve your business’s OHS performance by 20%. Organizations that have adopted an OHS management system from BSI have reported several benefits, with 79% agreeing it helps with compliance with regulations and 64% reporting improved business risk. Its focus on leadership commitment, culture and consultation can create the right environment for high engagement and trust; increasing productivity, innovation and organizational resilience.
Who is ISO 45001 suitable for?
It’s for any organization that wants to demonstrate they are committed to health and safety and prioritizing its people. The standard is flexible and can be adapted to manage OHS for a wide range of organizations, from large organizations and enterprises to SMEs, public and not-for-profits, non-government organizations (NGOs) and charities. ISO 45001 is an international standard, crossing geographic, political, economic, commercial and social boundaries. This sets a single benchmark for the management of occupational health and safety. So, if your organization operates or trades internationally, you can work to a single standard that simplifies your business OHS operations.
How can legal and regulatory H&S compliance be enhanced while reducing business losses?
Occupational health and safety management frameworks have a pivotal role to play in business.
Smaller organizations suffer a disproportionate amount of workplace injuries and ill health, losing a lot of productivity beyond the human cost. Robust health and safety management can result in less lost time and disruption, higher morale and productivity, lower insurance premiums and established processes to enable legal compliance.
Are there any other benefits to ISO 45001?
Poor occupational health and safety isn’t just about accidents. It can be about conditions that bring about ill health and low morale, often manifested in high sick leave rates, high staff turnover and low productivity. Usually, too, poorly managed OHS – accompanied by a conspicuously poor attitude: “Elf and safety – bleeding waste of time!” – can negatively impact an organization’s reputation. When that’s a small business, such a reputation can often become known in the local community. This can affect how customers and suppliers view you – to your detriment. It’s also quite likely to impact the quality of staff you can recruit and retain.
How does ISO 45001 support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals?
Organizations committed to sustainability increasingly align their corporate strategies to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accredited certification of ISO 45001, the international OHS management system, demonstrates an organization’s commitment to ensuring decent work conditions, health, well-being and equality practices.
For organizations seeking to enhance their ESG profile, implementing ISO 45001 and its alignment to the SDGs sends a powerful message to shareholders and stakeholders, including employees, that they genuinely care for their people.
This standard contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being; Gender Equality; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequalities; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
What are the easiest and most challenging parts of implementing ISO 45001?
You’ll already have a lot in place from things like complying with legislation and effective organizational governance, so it is often not as big a step as many organizations think. If you are completely new to ISO standards, it can feel like learning a new language, but don’t let that put you off! Complete the BSI implementing course and speak to other organizations who have gone through the process. You can also undertake a free gap analysis with BSI to see where you stand.
What are the benefits of formal certification to ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 and standards, in general, provide a framework for success that actively drive efficiencies, reduce costs, and formalize risk analysis. It also gives confidence to interested parties that relevant regulations and compliance obligations are being met, all of which benefit the bottom line and business continuity.