Health and safety tends to become a ‘political football’, and never more so than at the international level. An article by Chris Peace about the new standard reported it had been estimated that, globally, about 2.3 million people die each year as a result of workplace incidents, with New Zealand’s record being ranked worse than in many other OECD countries.
For well over a decade, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) worked on creating a standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, which resulted in ISO 45001. ISO 45001 requires health and safety aspects to be part of an overall management system, and no longer just an added extra.
ISO 45001 wasn’t easy to develop, as ISO’s attempts met huge opposition from international employer and union bodies, on the basis that the creation of this standard should be a matter for tripartite negotiation and ‘social dialogue’ at a national level. Interestingly, the International Labour Organisation (which has its own guidelines: ILO-OSH 2001) initially refused to support the project for similar reasons; however, after a number of international meetings, and a memoranda of understanding, a consensus was reached, and a draft standard went out to national standards bodies for a consultation process that ended in 2016. A second draft was issued in 2017, and in March 2018 the final standard was published. New Zealand will adopt this standard in 2019.
According to Katie Bird, Head of Communication for ISO, “ISO45001…provides a robust and effective set of processes for improving work safety in global supply chains. Designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries, the new International Standard is expected to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses around the world.”
If organisations wish to obtain ISO 45001 certification, they will need to make a new application; this standard now replaces OHSAS 18001, which was introduced in 1999. Or, an alternative is standard AAS/NZS 4801:2001, with which our online health and safety system, GOSH, is compliant.
If you want to know more about health and safety standards, or learn about our GOSH system, please contact the team at Working Wise today by phoning 04 499 0710, or complete our online contact form.