Full commitment and support by top business management in driving corporate-wide adherence to and support of regulations, policies and guidelines for safety, quality and pretty much any other regulatory directive is essential. It’s the power behind the punch.
That leaders need to lead is hardly an Earth-shattering revelation. But it’s a refreshing and necessary guiding principle behind the upcoming ISO 45001 standard, set for publication in April. The International Labour Organization estimates more than 7,600 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases – over 2.78 million people every year.
This new standard spells out requirements for an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) through a framework intended to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions.
What sets ISO 45001 apart is an emphasis placed on the responsibility of those at the top. Business leadership is tasked to create, orchestrate, maintain, monitor, develop and actively promote a management system that takes occupational health and safety (OH&S) policies and embeds these into the culture and operation of a business’s everyday activities. Leaders are key to ISO 45001 success.
A changing world is at the heart of why business leadership needs to be a driving force. Workers’ rights and ethical business performance are necessary parts that must be included in many agreements being negotiated throughout a continually emerging globally sourced marketplace and supply chain. By way of example, the United Nations and World Health Organization and indicators in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) now include health and safety in their respective evaluations of corporate performance.
Times are changing and business leadership needs to think beyond the sole notion of profitability. More than ever, the reputational and financial impacts are enormous for shareholders, stakeholders and executives in those organizations found to be guilty of occupational health and safety management failures that lead to injury and accidents. Business leaders who want to avoid personal risk and harm to their company’s brand and reputation would be wise to follow the recommendations of ISO 45001.
Chris J. Ward, a former principal inspector with the UK-based Health and Safety Executive, and an occupation health and safety professional, is a member of the 18001 British Standards Institution (BSI) committee that has helped develop ISO 45001. He’s written a report for Intelex Technologies outlining the key elements of the new standard, and providing insight into:
- What everyone needs to know about ISO 45001.
- A methodology for introducing and implementing this upcoming new standard and the hurdles that need to be traversed.
- The necessary conversations that need to be driven by business leadership throughout an organization.
- Calls to action for achieving successful adoption.