While we all need to take responsibility for our own health and safety at work – and for that of others, top management has overall responsibility. They need to take an active role in promoting the health and safety culture and demonstrating why it is important. The introduction to ISO 45001 makes this intention clear from the start.
ISO 45001 also requires organisations to ensure the participation and consultation of workers, and where they exist, workers’ representatives, in all parts of the application of the OHSMS and work-related activities.
While ISO 45001 is a new international standard, it builds on the concepts and requirements in HSAS 18001:2007. Organisations currently certified to OHSAS 18001 have a three-year period from the publication date, 12 March 2018, to migrate to ISO 45001 before the old standard is withdrawn.
One of the many benefits of ISO 45001 is that it involves the whole organisation in the Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS).
While we all need to take responsibility for our own health and safety at work – and for that of others, top management has overall responsibility. They need to take an active role in promoting the health and safety culture and demonstrating why it is important.
This sets the scene for the entire standard and the basis for developing an effective OHSMS. By recognising the potential of the new standard, top management can tap into a powerful tool that elevates occupational health and safety performance and reduces work-related illness and injury – leading to better morale among the workforce and a strong reputation as a responsible employer and a good corporate citizen.
Why is leadership an important element within ISO 45001? While leadership isn’t specifically defined in ISO 45001, it does have some broadly accepted traits, including creating and sharing a vision and motivating others to follow it. Leaders provide the structure, information and resources that will enable the people in their organisation to achieve that vision.
What leaders say, how they act, and what they value all influence whether safety and health are mere buzzwords in the workplace or if they are embedded into the processes and culture.
Leadership is important in ISO 45001 because it has such an impact on whether the OHSMS will be effective in driving better health and safety performance within the organisation.
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