During 2017 there were a total of 503,749 occupational accidents in Spain, of which 484 were fatal. This means that one person was killed in a work-related accident every 18 hours, according to data from the State Observatory on Working Conditions of the National Institute for Safety, Health and Welfare at Work.
In order to reduce these figures, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed the ISO 45001:2018 standard. On March 12, ISO 45001 was published, the first international standard that establishes the requirements to implement an Occupational Health and Safety Management System in any organization, regardless of its size or activity, with the aim of improving working conditions, eliminating or minimizing hazards and risks and reducing the number of occupational accidents and diseases.
The new ISO 45001 standard reinforces the integration of occupational health and safety into the overall business strategy of organizations and emphasizes the importance of context and risk management, not only limited to the negative effect but also to take advantage of the set of circumstances that can lead to improved performance (opportunities). In addition, the demonstration of compliance with legal and other requirements to which the organization subscribes is reinforced, as well as the development of indicators to demonstrate continuous improvement.
Among the main advances, it reinforces the role of senior management in the leadership of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System, as an important part of its business strategy.
Among other advantages, the implementation of ISO 45001 could enable companies to:
- Decrease the number of accidents at work.
- Increase productivity, which translates into economic benefits.
- Reduce absenteeism and staff turnover.
- Decrease adverse incidents in the workplace.
- Reduce the cost of insurance premiums.
- Promote a culture of preventive health and safety, involving employees to play an active role.
- Facilitate compliance with legal obligations.
- Improve the image and reputation of organizations.
- Increase employee confidence
Likewise, ISO 45001 presents the common high-level structure with the most widely used management documents in the world, ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment), so that organizations already certified in these standards will have an easier implementation.
ISO 45001 means the annulment of OHSAS 18001, currently the most widespread for occupational health and safety management. In fact, ISO 45001 meets most of its requirements and incorporates new ones, which translates into a number of improvements for businesses. Companies certified according to OHSAS 18001 have a period of three years, until March 12, 2021, to carry out the migration. The transition may be made during the regular renewal or follow-up auditor during a specific extraordinary audit for the purpose of making such a migration.
If you want to become certified and improve health and safety at work, we can help you.
Cristina Gascón studied Environmental Science at university and went on to specialise in ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 systems management. She is also a certified expert in occupational health and safety. Her main focus gradually shifted to quality and excellence, obtaining certification as an EFQM accredited assessor. Before joining Comtec, she worked as a quality systems auditor at Applus. Excellence in quality management, continuous improvement, the environment and occupational health and safety are her areas of expertise. She has headed up projects involving ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification, business process management, benchmarking and healthcare accreditation.