Health and safety regulations are in place to protect life and must be implemented by law. However, the way they are implemented is left to some extent to the discretion of the employer.
Several methods of best practices have emerged regarding the best way to implement a health and safety policy, one of which is ISO 9001. Created by the International Organisation for Standardisation, this is the latest iteration of the methodology first developed in 1987 as ISO 9000.
What are the key requirements of ISO 9001?
- Implement a quality management system
The first requirement of an organisation implementing ISO 9001 is to have a general quality management system (QMS). This covers all aspects of quality control from product delivery to general health and safety in the workplace.
- Specify management responsibility
The next step is to have a focus on management responsibility. The aim is to define who in the organisation is responsible for the management of the QMS.
- Establish resource management
A designated resource management plan. Employers should provide guidance on the infrastructure, human resource management, and work environment, and how these are to be managed from a health and safety perspective.
This part of ISO 9001 covers all aspects of the business resources from the workplace itself to the employees within it.
- Assess product delivery
The section following resource management covers all the parts of product delivery; from product requirements to, monitoring and the process of delivering the product or service to customers.
- Have a process of iteration
The final step to implementing ISO 9001 is to have a review and development process that helps to establish how well your QMS is performing.
What are some stated benefits of adopting ISO 9001?
There have been studies which have indicated various benefits of adopting ISO 9001. The increased overall process quality it promotes has led to better financial performance and also the gaining of new business by ISO 9001 certified companies.
The benefits include:
- Suitable for all sized organisations.
- Less wastage.
- Increase in efficiency, productivity and profit.
- Consistent outcomes which are measured and monitored.
- Improved internal management
- Globally recognised standard.
What other options are available to me as an employer?
A brief look at ISO 9001 will reveal that it is more comprehensive than a health and safety management methodology. Certification to the ISO 9001 standard can enhance the credibility of a business by showing customers that its products and services meet a standard that is well known. In some instances, or in some industries, certification is legally required.
However, there are a number of other options available that are more specialised, and many organisations implement their own bespoke methodology. All models should be traced back to the principles of Plan Do Check Act.
What is the new ISO 45003 standard?
ISO standards cover a range of areas around health and safety and other methods of best practice. The latest standard in development is ISO 45003. This standard intends to look at how organizations can better manage psychological health and safety in the workplace.