It may seem ironic that with all the standards set by ISO (International Standards Organization) for a variety of industries such as manufacturing, energy systems and the environment, there has never been a standard for health and safety management systems.

This is all about to quickly change though when delegates from more than 60 countries come together to develop the first ISO global Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard (OHSMS), which will help companies better manage the occupational health and safety of workers around the world. This new global framework, ISO 45001, will likely be adopted by early 2018.

Once approved, ISO 45001 will serve as a guideline for health and safety management systems in many countries and is likely to become legislated as the de-facto standard in others.

More importantly, many companies may ask what this new standard means for them and why they should care. Below are two key reasons:

Safety inspection

1.  Better protection in the workplace: Poor safety conditions at a workplace put everyone at risk: the workers, the company, stakeholders, and customers. In today’s global, connected marketplace, even a company with a strong policy can be negatively impacted by accidents involving partners, suppliers, manufacturing plants, or acquisitions. As we’ve already seen, highly publicized workplace accidents can also have a detrimental impact on a company’s brand, even if the accident occurred at the site of a subsidiary, manufacturing plant, or supplier. Even if you have an existing health and safety management system, you should assess the new global standard and consider adapting your policies and procedures to comply with this soon-to-be established global industry framework.

2.  A consistent system across the supply chain: A health and safety problem with a supplier could disrupt the flow of goods or services and negatively impact your business. Because of this, many companies require their vendors to adopt stringent health and safety management systems. This trend is only expected to increase once ISO 45001 passes. A consistent global standard is just what companies need to protect their workers as well as their brand reputation, supply chain, and future growth.

If you are considering the development of an occupational health & safety management system (OHSMS) that is certified or conforms to the ISO 14001:2018 give us a call.

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