How Occupational Health And Safety Standards Affect Your Business
What is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 is an internationally recognised occupational health and safety compliance standard introduced in March 2018. It specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety management system, with guidance for its use in order to enable organisations to improve their OH&S performance and prevent injury and illness.
Gaining ISO 45001 certification is not mandatory, but can significantly benefit your business, from direct effects like reducing the number of individuals who experience injury or illness while working for your company, to indirect advantages that actually stem from the implementation of occupational health and safety policies, such as increased productivity and higher employee retention rates. Demonstrating your compliance with OH&S international standards shows your employees and other stakeholders that you prioritise the safety of staff by implementing dedicated formal systems.
ISO 45001 can be applied to any organisation regardless if its size and type and helps to improve their OH&S performance by:
- Developing occupational health and safety policies and objectives
- Establishing systematic processes considering the context, risk and opportunities, and legal requirements
- Identifying OH&S hazards and minimising their potential effects
- Creating operational controls to manage OH&S risks
- Raising OH&S risks awareness
- Taking action to improve OH&S performance
- Encouraging workers to have an active role in OH&S matters
Direct benefits of implementing the latest occupational health and safety standards include; better ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues, reducing cost of incidents, reducing downtime and operation disruptions, reducing the cost of insurance premiums, lowering absenteeism and employee turnover, and achieving a better reputation by implementing an international benchmark.
Why you should adhere to occupational health and safety standards like the ISO 45001
For some employers, their staff’s health isn’t the most important thing in a workplace. There are managers that focus too much on achieving results on the short term, and neglect the fact that not taking care of employees’ well being is more detrimental on the long term. There are multiple reasons why implementing occupational health and safety standards in your organisation is a great idea:
- Preventing serious injuries
Safety failures can lead to tragic consequences like fatalities, broken or lost limbs, and years of mental rehabilitation. Such incidents force victims to redefine their identities and adopt a completely new lifestyle.
- Meeting legal obligations and being compliant
Depending on the jurisdiction where you perform your activity, you need to make sure you are up-to-date with all policies and procedures. Failing to be compliant can result in fines, so knowledge of legal aspects is associated with the avoidance of hazardous and unsafe situations at your workplace.
- Reducing workplace stress
Factors such as long working hours, conflicts with co-workers, and pressure from managers can lead to mental illness like depression, affecting employees in their personal lives too. Creating a positive work environment reduces stress levels and allows employees to concentrate on their work. Performance and productivity of the employees are maximised as employee wellbeing attracts company success.
- Saving money
Employee accidents have a major impact on company bottom line, as an injured employee means lost man hours and huge company expenses (increasing insurance costs).
- Increasing work morale
People want to feel safe at work, and their morale decreases when they see a co-worker becoming the victim of a work accident. The best people tend to leave first, especially when they observe inadequate safety measures. Knowing that employers care about their safety and comfort enhances people’s commitment as employees and make them feel part of a team/whole.
- Creating new opportunities
Adhering to occupational health and safety standards by asking employees to share their improvement ideas changes your organisational culture and you end up increasing your profits based on ideas provided by your people. OH&S also maintains and promotes investor confidence and develops positive stakeholder engagement at all levels.
- Improving company reputation
Word of mouth and social networks make it impossible to hide the lack of occupational health and safety strategies in your company. No company would like their recruits to read online that the potential workplace is not investing in OH&S, thus determining them to choose the competition. Your HR department will receive more applications from better candidates if you invest in employees’ safety and well-being. The fact that you implement occupational health and safety policies helps demonstrate to all stakeholders that your business is socially responsible. This protects and enhances your organisation’s reputation and credibility.
- Attracting more business
If you are looking to do business with other companies or want to attract major investors, one of their requirements can be occupational health and safety compliance. Making employee safety and wellbeing one of your core values shows potential partners that you care about the working conditions of those who collaborate with you and that you are actively looking for ways to reduce accidents.
Returning to the ISO 45001 standard, there are significant changes from previous occupational health and safety standards in the new ISO 45001, all bringing substantial benefits to your business and its bottom line.
- Management commitment
In order to obtain ISO 45001 certification, managers are now responsible for communicating directly with employees to create a universal culture of safety. The management needs to have an active and participatory role and senior organisation members should lead by example when working to improve occupational health and safety. Higher engagement with employees needs to be demonstrated, with a clear commitment towards improving workplace safety.
- Worker involvement
With the ISO 45001 standard, all members of an organisation are responsible for the overall safety of employees. In order to acquire ISO 45001 certification, your organisation will need to demonstrate that occupational health and safety is understood and implemented across all levels. Greater involvement and broader participation are required, and this also means that employees should have the right skills and knowledge to understand what the main safety risks at their workplace are and how to minimise them.
As a result, education and training programs are an important part of the ISO 45001 standard and employees are equipped to have an active role in OH&S improvement in their organisation. Both management and staff are accountable for occupational health and safety in organisation adhering to ISO 45001.
- Risk versus hazard
While previous occupational health and safety standards had a reactive approach to hazard control, ISO 45001 requires your business to proactively identify risks and assess possible solutions to minimise them. Your employees’ ability to identify risks and find remedies enables your organisation to eliminate hazards before employees are injured or get ill.
The Annex SL management system structure
Annex SL is a high-level structure compatible across all ISO standards and making possible an integrated approach with the implementation of various management systems. What Annex SL offers to your organisation is the ability to integrate numerous requirements and be ISO compliant when you have to manage multiple management systems that may cause inconsistency across roles and disciplines.
Looking to implement ISO 45001 in your organisation? Creative Quality Solutions can assist with the transition to ISO 45001 certification or determine the degree of compliance of your current system. Contact us at 1300 776 539 or on our website Creative Quality Solutions and improve the efficiency and compliance of your business now!