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Phil Walker on Implementing ISO 45001 in Health and Safety Management

Implementing ISO 45001 The challenges, pitfolds and results | Phil Walker (Expert Interview #5)


In the HSE North American Congress, we interviewed Phil Walker. Phil is the Corporate HSE Director for Kongsberg Automotive ASA. In this video, we discuss Kongsberg’s new adoption of ISO 45001 from Phil’s perspective in addition to any pitfalls and challenges of introducing the new standard.

Read full transcript

– [Paul] We’re privileged this week to have a long list of interviews lined up for HSE Network. First up, is Mr Phil Walker, corporate HSE director of Kongsberg Automotive ASA. Kongsberg Automotive have just started on their ISO 45001 journey. So for the benefit of understanding to our viewers, the ISO standard that will codify the requirements of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems all over the world.


The standard was inspired by OSHAS 18001, commonly referred to as ISO 18001. A British standard that until now has been applied internationally. When it is brought into effect, ISO 45001 will effectively be more context-focused version of the existing OSHAS 18001 standard. We’ll be discussing with Phil, his experience in implementing ISO 45001 in the automotive industry, how this resonates with that vertical, specifically, the challenges and the pitfalls, and of course, the results.

Now let’s get started. Welcome, Phil.


– [Phil] Thank you.


– And thank you very much for coming and doing an interview with the HSE Network. Phil Walker is the corporate HSE director for Kongsberg Automotive ASA. And he has been leading the charge on some focus on ISO 45001 journey. So, I wanted to get some insight, really, Phil, onto the experience, I guess, that you’ve had in implementing ISO 45001, the automotive industry, specifically, though, comparison to other industries and how, I guess, that has resonated within the vertical, in that vertical specifically, and the challenges, pitfalls, and of course, the results.


So let’s get started. I guess the first question that I have for you is, why has Kongsberg now decided to start the IS 45001 journey?


– Well, probably a few reasons, really. We were looking at why were some of our manufacturing plants much better than others. And we looked at what our best plants were. And one of the things that differentiated those was they had certification to OSHAS 18001, just two of our locations had that.


And also, they had a really engaged management team. And so from that, we then thought, “Well, this new 45001 international standard is coming up.” And it made sense to start looking towards that and using that as a platform to improve the rest of our business, really.


And so that was why we selected. The other thing was wanting to be ahead of the curve in terms of the expectations in the automotive industry. It’s not yet a requirement in the industry, but we could see that, that was what was going to be coming. So, I felt, you know, now is the time to start on that journey, and basically bring all of our plants into certification by the end of 2020.


So that’s what we’ve started to move towards.


– That’s quite a challenge. How many plants have you…?


– So we’ve got 28 plants that we’re working on.


– Wow.


– And, you know, we’re through the course of doing training at the moment. And we’ve got a number of people within the business who are trained to give that. And then working with all the plants regularly to help them, give them resources and tools to help them move forward and to certification.


– That’s great. I mean, are there any specific…? I mean, you know, with that amount of plants and trying to get that rolled out across every single one, is there any, sort of, challenges that you foresee or are going through at the moment?


– I mean, one of the things that it does, the standard, is it does focus on risk and… So risk assessment is certainly a key area of the standard, and getting people to recognise and understand how they have to really assess their whole business. That, for some plants, has perhaps been a challenge, and so we’re working through with that.


The new standard also focuses on worker participation and consultation. And so, for some, having, you know, the shop floor workers involved in the business of settings targets and being involved in solutions maybe is not the norm in some countries.


– Wow.


– And so that, for some locations, that’s, you know, something new that they’ve never done before. Perhaps for those countries where they’ve got stronger unions and the unions have been involved in the past, that’s nothing unusual. But for others, you know, to have shop floor workers and the management of the plant sitting down together and deciding things is perhaps not the norm.


So that’s one, sort of, aspect that 45001 brings in. As a requirement, you can’t get round it, you have to bring it in. But it is a positive. So, that kind of engagement is really what I see is, you know, helpful about 45001 in the plants.


– That sounds really good as well, in comparison, to maybe other industries. Do you think there’s any differences in automotive to other industries, in general?


– I think the automotive companies are really being pushed in terms of corporate risk responsibility. And that means that they’re looking at their supply chain, and want to know that the suppliers that they’re using are looking after the people that work there, you know?


And it’s already been there from an environmental perspective, but now they’re also starting to look at, you know, what are their suppliers doing in terms of the safety of their employees. So that, I believe, in the future, will be a requirement in automotive, you know, like 9001 has been for safety. That, you know, you can’t supply an automotive company without having those standards in place.


It’s going to be the same with safety. They’re going to expect that from it as your starting point. And we’ve already seen that some of the big manufacturers that we supply to like BMW or be it Chrysler have already now mandated just this year that…


– Of course.


– …you have to be certified to 45001. So for us at Kongsberg Automotive, that also just reinforced that this was the right plan to start, you know, when we started it a while ago.


– Sounds like you’re on quite an exciting journey with it.


– Yeah, it’s going to be good. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, definitely. Yeah.


– Do you foresee any, sort of, showstoppers at the moment, or is it all looking pretty smooth?


– I think it’s going to be pretty smooth. Over time, we’ve, sort of, tailored our internal requirements within Kongsberg Automotive to match some of the requirements of the 18000. So it’s not perhaps such a big step for the plants to now move towards the new standard.


So, I think that’s going to be an easy process for most of them. You know, there’s work to do, there’s training to be had. There’s perhaps a change in culture and mindset in terms of maybe the management team because there is a strong emphasis in the standard on management involvement and them being involved.


But I do believe that it’s going to give us increased and improved rigour within the business and all locations, all right, by having to be externally certified and regularly… You know, it’s the next step up. It gives us that platform to then, you know, be working on the next improvements going forward.


– And one other thing, I guess, for the benefit of the viewers of the HSE Network, any safety leaders trying to implement 45001, any recommendations on how best to go about doing it from a HSE director perspective?


– I guess from a director’s perspective, it’s having a clear plan. Deciding on, you know, when you want to achieve it by. Giving all of the plants and the locations clear direction on the expected time frames for doing training, for doing gap analysis. That’s important to actually analyse, where you are against the standard.


And most of the certification bodies can help in terms of providing documents that help you with that. And then one of the things for us is certainly getting in early with the certification bodies to say, “We want our audit at this time.” Because it’s a new standard, it’s very popular at the moment…


– Of course.


– …and the numbers of auditors that are trained to be able to certify against that standard is perhaps limited. So, have to get in early, I would say, and make sure you fix those dates.


– That’s great. Well, Phil, thank you ever so much for doing the interview with HSE Network. And I know you’re a big advocate of our events and been supportive of them over the years, and, you know, we look forward to hopefully, interviewing you again for the network in the future.


– Thank you, yeah.


– Thank you very much.


– Thank you.