Here is a brief update on ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Standard. The ISO/PC 283 work group continues to move forward with a new ISO 45001 standard. It seems like a long time since work began, and the project has taken more time than originally thought. From a scheduling standpoint, here is a summary of where things stand now.
There were approximately 3000 comments on the first draft standard, which failed to get approved for publication. A second draft standard has been prepared based on those comments. The next comment period runs from May 19 to July 13, 2017. The target date for publication is November 2017 if new comments can be resolved at a September 2017 meeting in Malaysia. Otherwise, publication will not occur until after March 2018.
The US technical advisory group (TAG) will meet in late May to develop comments on behalf of ANSI, the US member of ISO. Many improvements have been made but a few key issues remain. For example:
- Who is a “worker” for purposes of participation? Workers may include contractor employees and it is not clear how they would be able to, or even if they should participate in a company’s policy and planning decisions.
- Elimination of hazards. In making changes in response to earlier comments the new draft now promotes “elimination” of hazards. It may make more sense to encourage reduction of risks and “control” of hazards (gravity and electricity are hazards after all, and elimination may not always be practical).
- Work organization. Social factors (victimization, harassment, bullying) are included in the list of hazards to be addressed by the standard. It is not clear if these belong in this safety and health standard.
- Outsourcing and contractor safety. These areas are still fuzzy.
The structure of the ISO 45001 standard has been better aligned with ISO 14001 environmental management and ISO 9001 quality standards. The result is a general direction toward an auditable conformance document full of prescriptive requirements. This will be a particularly useful document for those already using other ISO standards, or those using OHSAS 18001 which will be replaced by ISO 45001.
For others who do not live in a conformance culture and simply want to improve safety and health management, the ANSI Z10 standard (in use and currently being updated) may be a more user-friendly way to go. The ANSI Z10 standard is the basis for many of the US positions.
For questions or further information on ISO 45001 you may contact Tom Slavin the ISHM representative on the US TAG. He can be reached at email@example.com