Over 50,000 companies worldwide are certified to the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series of Standards commonly known as OHSAS 18001. This includes over 2000 companies in the UK.
The drivers for a standardised approach to health and safety management are clear:
- Reduce work related injuries, ill health and death
- Eliminate or minimize risks
- Demonstrate responsibility and meet customer requirements
- Protect their brand’s reputation
- Motivate and engage staff through participation
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), over 6300 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases – a staggering 2.3 million every year – and millions of working days are lost due to work related illnesses and workplace injuries in the UK every year.
You may have wondered why 18001 is not an ISO (International Standards Organisation) standard like its cousins ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. In fact, it was developed as a British Standard and was then widely adopted internationally due to the obvious demand.
Before 1999, organizations had to choose from a range of national health and safety standards and proprietary certification schemes. This fragmentation ultimately undermined the credibility of the individual schemes so it was clear an international standard was required. However, for many years the ILO and the ISO, the principal stakeholders in the process, couldn’t reach agreement on a common standard.
This is all set to change later this year.
A new standard called ISO 45001 has been published in draft form and is due to be published late in 2017 or early 2018. The intention is that companies certified to OHSAS 18001 will transition to the new standard over a 3-year period.
So, what’s new about the new standard?
The new standard follows the same structure as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 which makes integration much easier. However, with that harmonisation comes a much stronger emphasis on management’s leadership role and worker participation, so that occupational, health & safety management becomes part of the fabric of the organisation’s activities, including suppliers and contractors, and interaction with the local community, and use of technology.
Some of the terminology has changed to harmonise it with the other standards and in this lies a slight change of emphasis, for example identifying and controlling risks rather than hazards, and documented information rather than records to reflect the digital age.
As well as covering everything that ISO 45001 needs, one of the key strengths of the SCANNELL system is that it addresses user needs both
- top down – management requirements (reporting, KPIs), as well as
- bottom up – easy to use forms and navigation – so that the people on the ground adopt the system and capture the data that management needs to make effective decisions and employees need for transparency.
ISO 45001 requires that there is a process to ensure that relevant legal and other requirements are tracked, kept up-to-date and checked for compliance status checked. SCANNELL’s system does that, with content covering over 40 countries, but to take it one step further we integrate that content with the risks, accidents and good catches.