March 2018 saw the launch of BS ISO 45001-2018. This is the long-awaited replacement of the ISO standard for Occupational Health and Safety which we have all become familiar with as ISO 18001.
In essence the doctrine promotes the principle of identifying and managing the risks to the health and safety of all persons and, importantly, health and safety of the business. The health and safety risks to staff in the processes that we at Avonside promote are well understood and the management techniques to manage the risks have been developed since the late 1800’s; we’ve been around a long time! The frustrating part for us is the truly unacceptable accident rate that the UK supply industry continues to maintain. There have been no ‘new ‘ accidents since the early part of the 1900's they are all merely repetitions of accidents we have seen before.
The principles for effective safety management still remain the same:
Assess the risk
Choose the best way to manage the risk
Ensure that those affected understand the risk and how to deal with it
Enforce the correct procedure
Review and improve
This is the approach that the ISO organisation have undertaken and identified, as have most professional health and safety organisations have recognised, the breakdown of this approach is caused by lack of compliance. Both the ISO organisation and health and safety enforcement authorities have raised concerns at international level about the keep forces at play which undermine compliance. As a result the new ISO 45001 standard directly addresses these key issues:-
Lack of adequate supervision-some of the incidents have exposed appalling levels of ignorance, of the correct procedure to follow or, even worse, deliberately carrying out work in contravention with the set standards for expedience/cost.
Lack of senior management commitment, the companies who have safety procedures don’t expect the staff to follow them or when a lack of compliance is exposed carry out no remedial actions.
Lack of ”buy in” by the procurement process; all too often competitive quotes for work are rejected for a cheaper option where no account has been taken to assess the occupational health and safety(O&S) content of the quotations. It is foolish to expect compliance with the health and safety standards can be achieved at no cost
The new standard addresses these issues head-on, directly targeting these well understood, and unfortunately far too common problems.
The principal is a very simple one that all aspects of O&S integrated throughout the whole organisation and it is fair to say that the principal players who will face scrutiny under this new British Standard our senior management.
Over the last five years we have seen a significant increase in penalties awarded in accidents occurring in the power utility sector. The launch of this revised standard is a further piece in the drive to significantly improve O&S performance.
It’s my opinion that all forward-thinking companies need to review the changes and consider their ability to perform adequately in this, changed, O&S environment