Welcome. ISO 45001  Goodbye OHSAS 18001.  Will it change the perception of this whole health and safety business? I hope so. It seems a strange that a strategy to prevent injury to workers has become regarded as some sort of time-wasting joke. Health and Safety really does need to employ an image consultant. If it were a product, it would be time now to change the name, packaging, or even both.

“Protect Us From The Directors”

Meanwhile, directors are being jailed for not safeguarding their employees. These are times of heightened corporate responsibility. Surely, apart from anything else, Health and Safety should at least be seen as methodology for keeping cynical management out of jail ? Hopefully ISO 45001 can help restore a damaged image. It might even bring a little sanity back to industry.

System = Reality = Application

First of all, let’s make one think perfectly clear. An ISO standard, such as ISO 45001, is way more than a set of theory-based rules. It is a management system. It “systematises” compliance with the subject under discussion, turning the theoretical into the practical, the abstract to the applied. It’s about action and application, not words. In this same way, the sometimes vague meaning of “Quality” was turned into consistency and good process control by ISO 9001. Where ISO 9001 was truly adopted well, the “irritating man with the clip-board and attitude” disappeared. Replacing it was an enterprise-wide “this is the way we do things here” pursuit of excellence. Furthermore, more than slogans on posters, it actually resulted in better products. Maybe ISO 45001 can do the same for health and safety? Could it be taken from its currently place as a source of amusement and a place for “jobsworths”? Could it become “the way we work to avoid hurting people”?  I hope so.

Culture Versus Paper

Good safe working practices need to be built into a business, not simply attached as a token gesture. Forcing a reluctant sub-contractor to write a risk assessment is not  “good Health and Safety”.  It produces a document, but not a mind-set. If safe working practices have really been accepted, and become part of how you work, then the risk assessment becomes unnecessary, as risk-based thinking has become part of the culture.

A New Start? Yes, Please!

So maybe ISO 45001 is the final part of a jigsaw. The last piece of a set of management standards which help businesses to manage their own compliance and grow. To me that sounds a bit more positive than simply saying it’s a Health and Safety standard !  You can probably tell that we are passionate abotu practial application of ISO 45001. If you share our passion, or even if you need some impartial help, we’re here to talk.

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