Thousands of people in the United States die every year from injuries or illnesses directly related to their occupation, with many more non-fatal incidents reported across the nation. Many government agencies and organizations around the world continue to revise and develop safety standards to mitigate workplace health hazards. To further these efforts, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) issued the new ISO 45001 standard to replace the existing OHSAS 18001.
All businesses and commercial sites are subject to occupational health and safety regulations on the state and federal level, especially if the company handles any kind of toxic substance. Updating procedures in accordance with the standards set forth in ISO 45001 is a big step toward reducing liability and displaying a desire to promote workplace safety. ATC Group Services is proud to help businesses navigate the new standards released in ISO 45001, and we are prepared to support our clients as they update their operations to achieve higher standards and regulatory compliance.
What Exactly is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 is a set of standards that includes 10 individual clauses regarding health and safety considerations in the modern workplace. The standard was officially published in March 2018 by the ISO, which provides regulatory oversight in countries across the globe. The publication of ISO 45001 also marks the end of OHSAS 18001 as the go-to regulatory standard.
Essentially, the goal of the new standard is to establish uniformity in the field, define responsibilities of parties involved and clarify previous terms. Unlike some of its predecessors, the 45001 standard makes health and safety initiatives a more formalized company-wide goal by including provisions regarding opportunities and measures effectiveness rather than just managing risks.
Benefits of Adopting International Standards
Even businesses that aren’t compelled to adhere to the requirements set forth in the new ISO standard can still take advantage of several distinct benefits of compliance. Building confidence with consumers and the business community are among the most tangible benefits. Full compliance with recognized standards shows that your company has strong, responsible leadership and a real desire to improve working conditions for all employees.
ISO 45001 isn’t only about protecting workers; these provisions can benefit businesses who successfully implement them, as well. Effective health and safety policies can ultimately save businesses money by reducing the number of compensation claims from injured employees or customers. Many of these measures also reduce the chances of accidents that could hinder normal operations or waste vital resources.
Requirements for Compliance
Organizations that were already in full compliance with previous standards, particularly OHSAS 18001, are in a strong position to move toward full compliance by the deadline. Companies already certified under the old regulations have three years to comply to the new standards. While this may seem like plenty of time, businesses should start the process as soon as possible so they can properly plan and execute an effective strategy.
There are many specific requirements for compliance that should be carefully evaluated while planning the transition to ISO 45001. One of the main differences from previous regulations is an emphasis on employee participation in health and safety efforts. ISO 45001 prioritizes involvement of all staff members in an organization to ensure smoother and unified procedures. It also includes provisions to encourage high-level management personnel to commit to compliance.
Preparing Your Business for Compliance
The release of new regulations and subsequent struggle to reach compliance by the deadline can be a stressful time for any organization. However, many of the provisions and regulations in ISO 45001 are ultimately geared toward keeping employees safe and ensuring smooth operations overall. Businesses that embrace these new standards and take advantage of emerging opportunities have a lot to gain from the transition.
As a provider of comprehensive environmental, health and safety engineering and consulting solutions, ATC Group Services helps clients navigate through complex regulatory requirements to develop effective practical strategies for implementation. We know that our clients have a hard time keeping up with the details of constantly-evolving regulations, which is why we take the time to stay current on relevant national and international standards. Please contact us to learn more about how ISO 45001 impacts your business and how our professional support can make all the difference.