Five ways ISO 45001 can reduce your H&S risks

19 Aug, 2019

ISO 45001 may be the new kid on the block when it comes to the main ISO standards but it certainly has some clout… Find out how it helps some of our clients reduce risks and safeguard health.

Improving identification of hard-to-spot risks

ISO 45001 provides a structure for your risk assessments, helping you to anticipate a range of risks across different areas of your business.

It also ensures that you review your risks regularly, ensuring that any changes, whether internal or external, are taken into account.

Richard Tresise from Cavendish Joinery, who implemented ISO 45001 alongside ISO 14001 (the environmental standard) commented on their experience, “The ‘straightening up procedure’ was not onerous; risk assessments are a case in point, we have always recognised our risks but the ISO 45001 standard requires that we carefully document the assessments and outcomes. Now, we ensure that meticulous records are kept which helps us achieve and retain our ISO certification and, in the unfortunate event of a Health & Safety incident, will also help us prove that we have taken action to protect our employees and visitors.”

Predicting consequences

It’s not difficult to work out the consequences of having a wet floor with no warning signage or a machine with a broken guard but ISO 45001 helps ensure you think about the consequences of other, less obvious, risks like a pressurised work culture or long hours spent driving.

ISO 45001 can open your eyes to the real cost of ignoring risks. Whilst we all recognise that one person’s stressor could be the next person’s motivator, you need to take positive steps to protect your workforce against potential mental ill health caused or exacerbated by work. The Centre for Mental Health estimates that mental health problems in the workforce now cost £1,300 for each employee in the economy and ISO 45001 helps put mental health on a level par with physical health.

Improving your accident registers

Are your accident rates as low as your reporting indicates?

There’s no arguing with a RIDDOR normally, but are you capturing near misses? This is vital information which can help you put in place the right corrective actions. We recommend you record your near misses, as you do accidents, as part of your ISO 45001 system. This helps you identify training requirements.

Our MD, Jennifer Semini, comments, “It’s helpful to remember that near misses are only a matter of luck. They could very easily have been accidents, so why not treat them as such and iron them out of your business? You might not be so lucky the next time.”

Ensuring processes are documented

Having good practice in place is one thing. Having processes documented so everyone knows where to find them and can act consistently is another. If you have a growing business, it’s essential that you document your processes so your operations grow in a structured way.

Andy Cook, one of our assessors, puts it succinctly when he says, “Health & Safety is everyone’s responsibility”. By documenting and sharing procedures you set an expectation amongst your workforce that everyone has a part to play in making the organisation a safe place. Andy continues, “It’s essential to take some of the onus off the H&S representatives. They are there to co-ordinate and improve compliance, but they can’t be everywhere at once. To be successful, you need every member of staff to be H&S aware.”

This approach has paid dividends for Linden Care Homes, who operate three different sites. As with all care homes, there is a very real risk to the care givers as well as to the vulnerable residents. Add in young families visiting residents and it’s a challenging health & safety environment. Linden have found the adoption of ISO 45001 drove shared processes across all three sites and has helped all employees to take a more proactive approach to H&S, which brings us onto our final point…

Engaging your team

Pay rises and pool tables have the wow factor but they can only go so far when it comes to employee engagement.

Today’s employees value knowing that their employers care about their welfare and take steps to protect it. Admittedly, with the cost of ill health caused or made worse by work at £9.7 million, this isn’t entirely altruistic on the part of employers, but both parties clearly benefit.

One of our clients, Millicom, a global telecommunications company, runs a H&S week for 21,000 direct employees across 18 countries to raise awareness of H&S, but many of our clients’ engagement plans are more low key. Rock Power Connections recently trained two managers on Mental Health First Aid and put together a comms plan to ensure their 70 employees knew what support is available. Matt Crampton, Finance Director, comments, “As a result, all Rock team members now have the option to speak to either of our Mental Health First Aiders when experiencing emotional difficulties, and as a company, this initiative has enabled us to open up discussions surrounding mental health ensuring any negative stigma is removed and our staff feel supported in their roles.” The firm also blogged about this initiative to raise awareness with their clients.

Next steps

Find out more about Cavendish’s experience of adding ISO 45001 to their existing ISO 9001 management system.

Understand the other benefits that ISO 45001 has to offer.


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