The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is warning businesses not to “jump the gun” on ISO 45001 before it’s finalised and approved to Australian standards. The ACCI are concerned that some elements of the draft standard are inconsistent with Australian best practice, and say it’s possible Australia might not adopt the standard in full.
IS0 45001, which aims to create an international standard for occupational health and safety, is set to be published in March 2018. ACCI associate director of work health and safety, Jennifer Low said they were cautioning businesses not to act prematurely.
“Internationally, the standard is yet to be finalised and even then, Standards Australia will need to determine whether it adopts it in full, abandons the field, or creates a hybrid version fit for the Australian context.”
“Over 70 countries have been involved in the development of the draft international standard. Several elements appear incompatible with Australian legislation and are highly prescriptive, outside what we now consider good practice.”
ISO 45001 was first proposed in March 2013, and has since undergone various stages of development. However, it’s not the first time Australia has expressed concerns over its implementation. Standards Australia voted down an earlier draft in May 2016, saying there needed to be “greater emphasis on applying known controls rather than unnecessary risk assessment.”
Ms Low said the ACCI was particularly concerned that elements of the draft standard were inconsistent with the Building Code 2016, She said safety management system accreditation was widely used in government tendering, particularly in the building and construction industry, and that changes to the current requirements could impose major costs on employers.
“A number of decisions will need to be made both internationally and locally over the next 12 months. The Australian Chamber will continue to work with Standards Australia, businesses and Governments to ensure any changes to safety management standards in Australia are genuinely needed, relevant to the Australian context and not overly burdensome to business.”
What is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 is one of the world’s most anticipated standards for occupational health and safety systems (OHS). It aligned with ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environment Management) and builds on OHSAS 18001, which is a framework aimed at controlling risks.
The system is designed to work with any organisation, large or small. The framework identifies and controls health and safety risks, reduces potential accidents, aids legislative compliance and improves overall performance. The standard also demonstrates how to develop and implement a policy with the right objectives for organisations of all types and sizes. More and more companies also want detailed information about their suppliers’ occupational health and safety practices to protect their brands.
According to the ISO, an organisation can proactively improve its OHS performance by following processes that use appropriate tools.
• developing and implementing an OHS policy and OHS objectives.
• establishing systematic processes which take into account its risks and opportunities, and its legal requirements.
• determining the hazards associated with its activities; putting in controls and seeking to eliminate them.
• establishing controls to manage its risks and legal requirements.
• increasing awareness of its OHS risks.
• evaluating its OHS performance and seeking to improve it.
• ensuring workers take an active role in OHS matters.
In combination these measures will ensure that an organisation’s reputation as a safe place to work will be promoted, and can have more direct benefits, such as:
• improving its ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues.
• reducing the overall costs of incidents.
• reducing downtime and the costs of disruption to operations.
• reducing the cost of insurance premiums.
• reducing absenteeism and employee turnover rates
• recognition for having achieved an international benchmark (which may in turn influence customers).
Simple, manageable steps and an all-inclusive culture where everyone participates are key to safety success. Well-established principles can now be propagated by using readily available technologies like mobile devices. Many companies already have processes in place to satisfy 45001. These principles are now affordable for even the smallest business. myosh HSEQ Management Software works with teams to reduce risk, reduce Injuries, improve productivity and reduce insurance costs. It’s easy to implement, use, and improvements are tangible.
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