What is ISO 45001?

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Health and safety matters from the very top of an organisation right down to the bottom.

This is true of any business and particularly the construction industry. In a previous blog post – What are the main health and safety risks in the construction industry? – we found that there were 30 fatalities on construction sites in 2016/17 and 196 from 2012-17.

This week we are going to look at ISO 45001 and while it isn’t construction sector specific, it is almost custom-made for it.

So, what is ISO 45001 and why do you need to know about it?

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is a new international standard that deals with health and safety at work.

While we have had OHSAS 18001 for a while (we explore the differences between the two below), ISO 45001 is completely separate. It has been designed to reduce workplace injuries, accidents and long-term illnesses that have derived from work while ensuring that there is a consistent standard across all organisations.

In fact, it is an attempt to tackle physiological causes of workplace accidents and sickness which is an area that the construction industry often falls short compared to other sectors.

Does it differ from OHSAS 18001?

OHSAS 18001 – which you can read about here – is mainly focused on risk and ISO 45001 incorporates both risk and opportunity for improvement while also being more of a process based framework.

The two aren’t completely dissimilar however ISO 45001 puts the emphasis on incorporating health and safety in the workplace into the internal management system rather than outsourcing it or delegating. Essentially it puts health and safety at the heart of a business from the top down.

You can have a look at some more specific differences via this link.

How will it be implemented?

ISO 45001 is going to be phased in over the next 3 years and for many organisations, this means changing the way in which they think about health and safety.

To adhere to ISO 45001, organisations will undergo an independent assessment that will include an onsite audit. This audit will explore how leadership promotes health and safety as well as the overall safety culture at each organisation.

ISO 45001 has a lot of focus on employers and employee’s working in unison to achieve a healthier and safer environment. This follows on from our blog posts at the beginning of the year – 3 Methods to Improve Your Safety Culture at Work.

Maintaining safety going forward

ISO 45001 means big changes are ahead for all organisations in regards to health and safety and the construction sector is one that will benefit overall.

Just under 3% (2.9%) of workers are injured in the construction industry every year in Great Britain and ISO 45001 is designed to address this not just in this one sector but in every business in 13 countries including Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the UK. Australia is currently considering it for adoption.

Health and safety, in general, has come on leaps and bounds but it still has some way to go however ISO 45001 is a big step in the right direction.

Read the full details on ISO 45001 here.

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