Occupational health and safety management systems (ISO 45001)

by Elina D

Occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) are becoming more prevalent in the workplace. This is because OHSMS (ISO 45001) provide a way to increase employee productivity while simultaneously decreasing incidents of injury on the job. There are many different industries that need to be concerned about occupational health and safety management, but there is no industry where it’s more important than the mining industry. Mining companies have an obligation to protect the environment as well as their workers from any potential harm.

Workplace Hazards

No matter the industry, every business needs to have occupational health and safety management (ISO 45001) in place. From manufacturing plants with heavy machinery, to office buildings where employees are working on computers all day long – it is important to protect both people and property from harm.

Here we will discuss different types of hazards occurring at workplaces:

Hazards in Workplaces

  • Physical hazards – There are many physical hazards that could happen in the workplace. They range from slips and falls to explosions, fires, and more. Construction workers are often exposed to physical hazards, such as falls and injuries from heavy equipment, that can cause serious injury or death.
  • Biological hazards – The term “biological hazards” is used to refer to any substance that poses a risk of injury, death, or adverse effects on health due to its ability to cause infections. Such substances can be categorized as infectious agents (e.g., viruses and bacteria), toxins, organic or inorganic chemicals, living organisms (e.g., insects) or their byproducts. Biological hazards are often found within the food industry but also exist outside of it; for example, some biological hazards are present in nature while others are created through human activity such as production processes.
  • Physiological hazards – These kinds of hazards include poor work-life balance, harassment, bullying, etc. The work environment can be just as dangerous to mental health as it is to physical wellbeing when stress becomes too great or interpersonal relationships become strained.
  • Environmental hazards – Environmental hazards include noise and air pollution, heat, radiation. The effects of these can cause nerve damage, lung cancer genetic disorder, cancer etc.

ISO 45001 Certification

The ISO 45001 standard is a global management system for occupational health and safety. It provides guidance on how to develop an effective approach to managing workplace health and safety in any company or organization that employs people. The goal of this document is to improve worker’s quality of life by preventing accidents at work which could result in injury or death.

Why ISO 45001 is good for your organization

ISO is good for organization

  • Gain Controls – ISO 45001 is a set of standards that can help you to establish operational controls for your company. It provides guidance on how to plan, implement and monitor these controls, taking into account risks and opportunities as well as legal and other requirements.
  • Enhance your goodwill – This certification enhances your brand image among investors and clients. Achieving ISO 45001 certification to this standard is recognition that you have achieved an international benchmark, getting you noticed by customers who are concerned about their social responsibilities.
  • Reduce incident costs – ISO 45001 helps you to reduce the cost of incidents and downtime, improving your ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues.

Requirements for implementing ISO 45001

  • Context – For the Occupational health and safety management systems (ISO 45001) to be relevant to your business many internal and external factors need to be determined. These internal and external factors may have a direct or indirect impact on your business. To meet the requirements, you need to determine the changes that will take places after implementing the certification.
  • Resources – The leadership needs to assign responsibilities and ensure there are enough resources available for successful implementation of Occupational health and safety management systems (ISO 45001). Good communication plays a key role for the leadership to define the roles and responsibilities clearly which avoids any confusion in future.
  • Planning – Any new changes made in the existing system will have its own pros and cons. Thorough planning will help the organization prepare to deal with the risks and adopt to the changes immediately.
  • Improvement – Consistent improvement is one of the key requirements. This shows you have a growth mindset and always eye for better performance. This can be done by regularly monitoring and taking appropriate actions.

Steps to Manage Risks and HazardsSteps to Manage Risk and Hazards

  • Involve the employees – The workers working in hazardous environments are the first ones to get exposed to any hazards. Give them an opportunity to share ideas and make improvements in the current safety measures. Ensure everyone is aware of whatever changes you make in controlling hazards.
  • Spot hazards – There are different kinds of hazards that go unnoticeable but may have a huge impact on your organization’s smooth functioning. The following ways may help you detect them:
  1. Enquire with your employees if they have noticed any hazards or any hazards that they feel may occur in future.
  2. Inspect the physical infrastructure of your workplace like building walls, floor surfaces, machinery, appliances.
  3. Assign the task to auditors who can understand the technicalities of a machine and review them.
  4. Keep track on injury records, and substances that are prone to injuries.
  • Use a template – A template can help you review your work environment, tasks each resource does, and equipment used in the workplace. You can also use the template as a checklist for maintenance or conduct regular checks to ensure smooth functioning of equipment.
  • Risk Assessment – Once you have identified all potential dangers, rank them from most hazardous to least hazardous using a scale of 1 – 5 with 5 being the most dangerous hazard. The next step is assessing the likelihood that any given hazard would cause injury or illness if left untreated or uncontrolled by assigning a rating on a 1-5 scale.
  • Resolve the Problem – There are many hazards that may look harmless and pose less risk but ignoring these can lead to larger hazards. You need to measure the potential impact of the hazard and how likely are the chances of hazards being occurred. The solutions should be specific to the hazard.
  • Evaluate Results – Once you have fixed the problem, ensure the actions taken are effective. Take feedback from those impacted by the changes and make modifications wherever required. Review the incident records to see if the injury incidents are going down.