ISO 45001 will heap a whole lot more responsibility on to the already full plates of top managers. The standard puts business management on the hook to create, orchestrate, maintain, monitor, develop and actively promote a system that takes occupational health and safety (OH&S) policies and embeds these into the culture and operation of a business’s everyday activities. The corollary to this is that leaders will need to find a way to ensure sufficient financial, personnel and time resources are devoted to the successful implementation of a management system for OH&S.
At the heart of the ISO 45001 standard is a need for worker involvement through participation in decision making, evaluation procedures, implementation and feedback mechanisms.
The new standard will amplify a need for an effective safety solution, including tools that will allow manufacturers to connect with different stakeholders throughout their organizations, to foster trust and collaboration at each level.
Manufacturing as well as other industries are increasingly understanding the negative impact of outdated safety processes and technology, both on their safety cultures and profitability.
Forward thinking companies are already taking steps towards meeting ISO 45001 guidelines. Consider the example of PACE Industries, a North American aluminum, zinc and magnesium die casting manufacturer. In 2011, two safety incidents occurred at the company, prompting a renewed commitment to creating a safer workplace.
An effort, driven by the CEO, saw the creation of a new safety policy, built upon the foundation of a documented personal safety pledge made by PACE’s top leadership and every employee.
Tools and processes were then added as PACE introduced EHS management software at its 21 facilities that employ more than 4,200 associates. The results were impressive. Safety metrics showed outstanding improvement, including:
- An 85% in the incident severity rate,
- A 62% reduction in the OSHA recordable rate,
- A reduction of 1,161 lost working days, and,
- A $1.2 million per year reduction in worker’s compensation payments.
PACE’s safety performance is now a source of pride and competitive advantage within its industry.
Manufacturing leaders who likewise may want to improve safety performance and create safer workplaces might want to follow the recommendations of ISO 45001 in building their own plan.
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 how to build your own plan by focusing on 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.