The International Organization for Standardization
(ISO) has nearly completed its three-year process to introduce a
new global standard for occupational health and safety management
systems. It takes into account other international and national
standards and was first proposed in 2013. Since that time, a group
of occupational health and safety experts from over 55 countries
and numerous liaison bodies have been crafting the document and
seeking input from interested parties in an effort to assist
organizations by providing an up-to-date and clear framework for
businesses of all sizes to manage and reduce workplace risks and
improve the safety of workers across a wide variety of
Organizations will already have health and safety programs in
place with the same objectives as those fostered by the new
standard. However, it is anticipated that those aspects of ISO 45001 which are relevant to an
organization will be capable of being incorporated into, and
adapted for, these existing programs.
Expected features include an emphasis on participation of senior
management and the inclusion of occupational health and safety as
part of the organization's business strategy and the ability to
demonstrate compliance on an overall risk-based approach, including
tracking performance indicators on a systematic basis.
In order to secure the widest possible input, the second
committee draft of the standard is out for comments. Canadian
comments can be offered until May 1, 2016, with an intended
publishing date of October 2016.
According to the ISO, ISO 45001 will not only improve employer
and worker health and safety, but it will address many legal
requirements for businesses. It has been written for compatibility
with other management systems standards, such as ISO 14000 (environmental management) and ISO 31000 (risk management).
For those in the industry who do business globally, and even for
those who don't, it is definitely worth putting this standard
on your radar screen for the future. Consider how you can best make
use of any relevant aspects of it, and do so sooner rather than
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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