21st Mar, 2022 Read time 4 minutes

What is ISO 45001?

The ISO 45001 is a set of requirements that address occupational Health and Safety management systems, which is laid out by the International Organisation for Standardisation. These standards are in effect all over the world, hence why it is very important to understand what it is and how it affects your job as either an employee or an employer.

If you have heard of ISO 18001, it is because the new ISO 45001 standard was inspired by and in many cases based upon the British piece of regulation and then geared towards an international outlook.


Implementing ISO 45001

Why did some of the early adopters of ISO 45001 do so? Alongside the greater protection it would grant in the sphere of occupational health and safety, some companies discovered other benefits that were encouraging.

Kongsberg Automotive found that their plants which were OSHAS 18001 certified were more productive than their other plants, so decided to prepare their production plans for the newly introduced ISO 45001 standards.

How do you implement ISO 45001 as an organisation though? It’s a matter of putting processes in place that enable you to train people within your business as well as enabling resources to be provided to help those within your company gain their certifications.

 It’s key to start off the implementation phase with a clear plan, with the goals you want to achieve by the end of it in mind. For example if you are a large firm with manufacturing centres spread out across the country or Europe and you want to get them all ISO 45001 certified, you want to make sure that they have all been given instructions on giving training, measuring their performance and setting a timeline to complete the process.

If you are struggling with the implementation of ISO 45001, there are many places you can go to find professional advice on how your company can reach the requirements of the new standards. However, it is important to remember that whilst you may receive advice, you as a company or organisation are still legally responsible for the day-to-day management of health and safety.

If you require this assistance, you can start your search for finding qualified consultant’s with knowledge of ISO 45001 by looking at the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register.


What makes ISO 45001 unique?

 The ISO 45001 has gained popularity due to its extra health and safety protections, but there’s also a slightly more radical side to the standards.

An essential new feature of the ISO 45001 is its focus on worker participation and consultation. The idea of a health and safety regulation implementing greater roles for industrial workers being involved in setting targets and problem solving may be foreign to some companies; so that could take some getting used to.

These ideas are slightly more normal in nations with a strong union heritage and history of worker empowerment, but where it isn’t usual for shop floor workers to meet management at an equal level and make agreements, there may be a process needed to help ease any tensions between the two sides.


How do the ISO 45001 regulations affect different industries?

ISO 45001 has certain ramifications for different industries. For example, the standards might test those in the automotive industry on their level of corporate risk responsibility. Rather than looking at the supply chain as simply where they source their parts, they will now have to take greater care and learn more about their suppliers and their approaches to health and safety. This takes the form of investigating the occupational health and safety of their suppliers’ employees for example.

For industries that have already been required to follow ISO 18001, the transition towards ISO 45001 should be rather smooth because the changes are mainly progressions from 18001. There is still training that will need to be done, but the change in culture and mindset will not be as big.

In industries where there is less of an emphasis on management, the demands placed on those in managerial positions to shift work culture and mindset to the the requirements of ISO 45001 might be hard to adapt to; but if you have top quality managerial staff, the increased demands should only help them develop and prove their worth.

ISO 45001 and the regulations within it are a great step forward in the world of health and safety; and hopefully this article has helped explain the standards origins, how it has been implemented, some of its unique features such as worker participation, and finally the ways in which the regulations will affect industries in different ways. You can learn more about the latest developments in the health and safety sector by following our coverage here on the HSE Network.

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