ISO 45001: A Game Changer in Occupational Health & Safety
The numbers are staggering, according to the International Labour Organization’s 2017 calculations. Around the world, every minute of every day 5 people lose their lives while working and more than 700 people are injured or become ill just from ‘doing their job’. That is almost 3 million workplace fatalities and an additional 374 million workplace accidents per year. The burden of occupational injuries and illnesses is undeniable, not just on employers but on the global economy.
It is these sobering statistics that prompted the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create and publish a new set of standards for occupational health and safety: ISO 45001. The new standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts from more than 70 countries and provides an easy to use framework that improves employee safety, reduces workplace risks and creates better, safer working conditions all over the world.
ISO 45001 replaces OHSAS 18001, the world’s former reference for workplace health and safety. It is based on common elements found in all ISO management systems standards and incorporates a simple Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. The PDCA model provides a framework for organizations to plan what they need to put in place in order to minimize the risk of harm in the workplace. It is designed to address concerns that can lead to long-term health issues, employee absences and workplace accidents on an ongoing basis.
The new standard will assist organizations, worldwide, in providing a safe and healthy work environment for workers and visitors by continually improving their OH&S performance. According to David Smith, Chair of project committee ISO/PC 283 that developed ISO 45001, who believes the new International Standard will be a real game changer for millions of workers: “It is hoped that ISO 45001 will lead to a major transformation in workplace practices and reduce the tragic toll of work-related accidents and illnesses across the globe.”
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