Using occupational health and safety standards will be easier with the introduction of a new SME handbook

26 October 2018, Andrew Foster, Independent Health and Safety Consultant

Hard hat, laptop and pencil on desk

Occupation Health and Safety standards set to change with introduction of new handbook for small businesses

The international standard ISO 45001 “Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for use” was published in March this year, along with a British Standard providing guidance on implementing it. It follows the same management standards framework that is used in environmental, quality and other management standards, and this is intended to help organisations create more integrated management systems.

Andrew Foster represents CIEH on the British Standards Institute Committee HS1, which is responsible for developing occupational health and safety management standards.

As one of BSI’s UK representatives, he has been attending the ISO meetings that help develop standards and guidance over the last few years. He’s also a member of BSI working groups producing publications for UK organisations.

The most recent ISO Technical Committee (ISO/TC 283) attended was held in September at Coventry University, where proposals for future work were discussed and the two groups worked on:

  • Developing an “ISO 45001 implementation guidance handbook for small organisations”.
  • Drafting a standard on “Psychological health and safety in the workplace”.

The Coventry meeting was attended by 75 delegates from 36 countries, and by representatives of liaison bodies (e.g. IOSH), employer and trade union organisations. The next meeting is in March and hosted by the USA.

Group of people on steps outside

Some of the international representatives at Coventry meeting in September 2018 (ISO photo)

"The handbook will help small organisations create more integrated management systems"

The handbook is aimed at SMEs and micro organisations, whether public, private or charitable. It’s designed for people who aren’t specialists in OH&S management, and explains the intent of the requirements in ISO 45001 as well as how smaller organisations can implement its requirements in a sensible, effective way. It should be ready for publishing in a year or so.

The standard on psychological health and safety in the workplace is intended to provide guidance to enable organizations to prevent the psychological injury and ill health of their workers and other interested parties. It willbe approximately 3 years before publication as it has to be developed by consensus, and will follow a more structured and formal process before receiving international approval by ballot.

Meanwhile the British Standards Institution (BSI), through its HS1 Committee, has published new standards on health and safety that can be used independently or to support the implementation of the new international occupational health and safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • BS 45002-0 guidance on the application of ISO 45001.
  • BS 45002-1 on managing occupational health.
  • BS 45002-2, on managing risks and opportunities (about to be published)
  • BS 45002-3 on incident investigation (practical steps to take when an accident occurs, gathering evidence and the importance of investigating the root causes of health and safety incidents in the workplace).

Further information on the standards is available at BSI standards and ISO.

Andrew Foster is a member of the ISO working group that is developing the guidance for smaller organisations and will be advising CIEH of opportunities to comment on the draft handbook and standard. He would be pleased to receive any comments or clarify anything. These can be sent to [email protected].


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