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On January 25th, the new international standard of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ISO 45001, was approved almost one year late; that in Spain, and if there are no last minute changes, it will be called Health and Safety Management Systems at Work. Thus, on March 15 will be published officially in English, French and Spanish. The translation into Spanish has the peculiarity that, it must be understood and used in all Spanish-speaking countries. This always implies that there will be terms that “sound strange” to us in Spain, but that in the LATAM countries are widely accepted and used. As the Translation Committee has been working together, this time we will not have to wait.

Now there is a way to go for organizations that want to implement this standard, for those who want to integrate it with other standards such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001, for companies that want to migrate from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 and, finally, those who decide to certify this management system of the SST.

Each of these scenarios will imply a different work, although all of them facilitated by the high level structure (HLS) and the process management of any new or revised ISO standard.

Where do we start?

As the Mad Hatter said to Alice: “Start at the beginning and continue to the end; there you stop. ”

But what is the principle? The answer is always the same: we need to know the starting point to be able to plan the implementation in the short, medium and long term. Therefore, the principle is a good analysis of the current situation of the organization in relation to occupational health and safety.

A simple way to do this study is to analyze requirement by requirement of the standard what the company already has to comply with the requirement in question, and what it would lack. In Spain, as in Europe, we have extensive legislation on the prevention of labor risks. This makes it easier to fully comply with a large part of the requirements of ISO 45001.

Despite many comments we have heard from organizations and companies in the Spanish Committee of ISO 45001, about the difficulty of being able to comply with what the standard says, from our experience the secret is to think that the standard has to adapt to the characteristics of the organization where it is going to be implemented and not vice versa. And beware of the interpretation of the last paragraph of point 1 “Object and field of application” which states: “(…) Compliance with this document can not be claimed unless all its requirements are incorporated into the management system of the SST of a organization and are met without exclusion. ”

This does not mean that if we do not use personal protective equipment (PPE) we need a procedure or instruction to manage it. Or if we do not have work at height, especially sensitive personnel, dangerous substances, etc. we need to have them contemplated in the management system because the norm quotes it in some of its paragraphs. Common sense must always prevail.

So we will perform this requirements analysis together with all the relevant parts of the organization. This is not a matter of the health or safety department or staff. Now it is an “issue” that is aligned with the strategic direction of the organization, with the business objectives and that is present in all processes, led by senior management and supported by all the people in the organization.

The fact that the figure of “Manager / s of the management system” has disappeared has been a great step forward towards the integration of SST requirements in all business processes and in each person in the organization. Each one at your level, now has its role, its responsibility, its accountability and its authority. And it is time for this to be explained well, and stop intimidating the stakeholders with which, “now they will have more responsibilities” as a threat, and be internalized by everyone that “my health and safety depends on me, and not only what others watch over her. ” The moment of maturity has arrived, the puberty of safety and health has lasted 20 years in Spain. Enough time to become adults.

With the results of this report, an implementation planning should be done prioritizing the basic requirements in the short term and then in the medium and long term. The less “green” a company leaves in this report, the shorter the implementation times.

The basic short-term requirements that we must plan are:

  • The understanding of the organization and its context
  • The needs and expectations of the interested parties
  • The determination of the scope of the OSH management system
  • The processes involved and their interactions
  • The leadership and participation of workers
  • Actions to address risks and opportunities
  • The SST policy
  • The definition of roles, responsibilities and authority
  • The fulfillment of the Legal requirements and other requirements
  • Management of documented informatio
  • Objectives’ understanding of the requirements of the organization
  • The objectives of improvement
  • The medium-term objectives would be the following: Internal and external
  • communicationParticipation and consultation
  • Resources, competence and awareness raising
  • Set operational controls
  • Change management
  • La Management of purchases and suppliersPreparation and response to emergenciesPerformance evaluation
  • Management of incidents and non-conformities
  • Long-term: Internal auditThe review by management
  • The continuous improvement of the OSH management system

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keys for a successful ISO45001:2018

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