ISO 45001: Managing existing and emerging Occupational Health & Safety risks

Sponsored Article by LRQA (Lloyds Register)

Organisations of all sizes are facing unique, complex and unprecedented challenges that are disrupting existing processes and pushing them to re-evaluate current work practices. These challenges include the increase of existing risks and the arrival of new hazards not previously accounted for. In many cases, organisations are unprepared to deal with these new situations, and they represent imposing obstacles that need to be overcome.

ISO 45001 is an important tool that can help organisations deal with new and emerging risks. In an increasingly unpredictable world, it allows for the creation of a framework where risks can be assessed and managed systematically, lessening their impact and ensuring better levels of health and safety for staff in every scenario.

Addressing risks and opportunities
The introduction of an Occupational Health & Safety (OH & S) management system not only requires that relevant risks and opportunities have been identified, but they are being effectively managed. In a world where new risks and hazards are constantly emerging, this needs to be a dynamic process.

Clause 6.1 of ISO 45001 is where actions for addressing risks and opportunities are introduced. The creation of risk management strategies will help the organisation understand the impact these risks pose at all operational levels, how to create preventive solutions and the best ways to maximise the new opportunities that present themselves.

While developing new risk and opportunity strategies forms a structural base of possibilities, it must be supported by strong channels of communication with relevant stakeholders to ensure effective implementation. This can become more of a challenge for multinationals where a desire for uniformity across the organisation has to be weighed against other factors such as legal and cultural considerations.

Management of change
There has been a much faster progression of digitised communication than at first anticipated, which has seen greater use of remote technology and distanced workforces. It’s an example of how things can rapidly change and pose a completely new set of challenges that were previously not anticipated.

During an unexpected crisis, your workforce is the one thing that can be impacted the most. Life changes not only at work but also in people’s personal lives, meaning that those on the frontline of the organisation are experiencing a variety of new challenges. However, this can often be overlooked by companies because it may not be overtly apparent. Impacts on the business could also mean that staff levels are reduced when the crisis has been overcome. At the operational level, this could see a drain of knowledge and experience occurring in teams that were not prepared for it, which may result in the creation of new unanticipated risks and hazards that need to be urgently addressed.

Taking all of the above into account, this is where a process for management of change plays a pivotal role. It’s a fundamental part of ISO 45001, enabling you to take a step back to assess, review and demonstrate how you have managed these changes and their impacts on the organisation. It works as a blueprint for all stakeholders to work from while offering concise guidelines on how to implement the required changes.

Utilising a proactive approach is essential to tackling expected and unexpected organisational change, reducing the risks of injury and ill health posed to staff. When an OH & S management system is being modified the use of effective management of the change process will help ensure hazards and risks do not worsen and more control is retained over negative impacts.

Capabilities of emergency planning using the ISO 45001 framework
To ensure the ongoing health and safety of staff, contractors, visitors and other relevant parties, a plan of action needs to be in place to reduce potential harm if an unplanned or unexpected event occurs. The use of ISO 45001 strengthens an organisation’s ability to respond effectively in this sort of scenario.

From the provision of first aid and evacuation measures during an emergency to considering the conditions and how all staff will be impacted, ISO 45001 provides a framework to analyse all possibilities and outcomes. All OH & S risks should be assessed, whether new or old, with current systems also reviewed and updated to meet the required standard. Health and safety hazards in an emergency can be
posed to staff both on and off-site and ISO 45001 helps the organisation to understand what they are and how to safeguard and manage them.

It also has to be taken into account that even with the most detailed of planning, unseen risks may still present themselves. Having an effective OH & S management system in place means you have an agile framework that can be readily adapted to reflect the dynamic nature of risk.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of any management system will be determined by two key factors. Firstly, its relevance to the business and its objectives and secondly, how people refer to and use it. Management systems must be supported from the very top of the organisation with the values for health and safety being understood at every level. Good communication and teamwork, both internally and externally, can help you navigate towards finding the answers you need.

Audit and Training Services

We offer a range of on-site and remote audit and training services suitable for organisations of all sizes and from all industries, designed to help you get the most from ISO 45001. We work collaboratively with you to design the best audit and training options for your business.

Many of our courses are delivered as eLearning or in a virtual classroom environment, structured to meet your learning objectives at a pace
that works for you – wherever you are in the world. Alternatively, we can customise a solution against your organisation’s training needs.
We also deliver public courses.

• Introduction to ISO 45001
• Implementing ISO 45001
• ISO 45001 Internal Auditor
• ISO 45001 Auditor/Lead Auditor
• Introduction to integrated management systems

Remote Audit
Using secure remote technology we deliver the same high-quality audit services that were previously only available as an on-site audit.
Our ISO 45001 audit services will consist of a blend of remote and on-site audit activities providing you with an unrivalled level of insight and expertise.

• Fast & flexible
• Increased access to technical experts
• Safe & sustainable
• Excellence & expertise

Gap Analysis
For organisations looking to evaluate their current OH&S management system (OHSMS) against ISO 45001, you can work with an LRQA auditor to identify critical or high-risk areas of your OHSMS, alongside specific vulnerabilities.

This can either be delivered on-site or remotely and helps determine the scope of your ISO 45001 management system, giving you the flexibility to focus on areas critical to your operations.

Certification and Audit
ISO 45001 certification from LRQA demonstrates to your key stakeholders that you have a robustly designed and implemented management system for keeping your employees healthy and safe and that it has been audited to the highest standards.

Integrated Audit
Organisations with multiple management systems for example quality, environmental and information security management, can benefit from coordinated audit and surveillance programmes, avoiding the duplicated effort and reducing disruption.

Assurance Services
LRQA delivers certification, validation and verification audit services to all the world’s leading standards and schemes covering environmental, sustainability, energy management, business continuity, cyber security and more.

We maintain our impartiality by proactively managing conflicts of interest across all LRQA businesses including those which may exist between consultancy and third-party certification services.

About LRQA

By bringing together unrivalled expertise in certification, customised assurance, cybersecurity, inspection and training, we’ve become a leading global assurance provider.

We’re proud of our heritage, but it’s who we are today that really matters because that’s what shapes how we partner with our clients tomorrow. By combining strong values, decades of experience in risk management and mitigation and a keen focus on the future, we’re here to support our clients as they build safer, more secure, more sustainable businesses.

From independent third-party auditing, certification and training; to technical advisory services; to real-time assurance technology;
to data-driven supply chain transformation, our innovative end-to-end solutions help our clients negotiate a rapidly changing risk
landscape – making sure they’re shaping their own future, rather than letting it shape them.

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