Occupational Health and Safety, and Environmental Management Systems Consulting

You may have read and heard things recently about changes to consensus standards for safety and environmental management systems. There were updates to some ISO management system standards in 2015, to include for the ISO 14001:2015, Environmental Management Systems. The ANSI/ASSE Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard has been reaffirmed. And importantly, the international community has been working on the development of a new international consensus standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, which is expected to become “ISO 45001.”

What’s all this about, and might it impact your company or your company’s approach to managing HS&E? What is “risk based thinking?” What might you need to do to incorporate the sustainability concepts contained in ISO 14001:2015?

Obviously, there are some well accepted “best practices” in Health, Safety and Environmental programs that many companies choose to implement. They implement them in some cases because of corporate values and expectations, and in other cases because they provide for best management, cost control, or otherwise help provide corporate governance and regulatory compliance. However, certain management systems may fit some companies better than others.

There are a few different management system models that companies can choose to pattern their approaches and written programs after, or to become certified “to” by a registrar. Reputable consensus standards for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMSs) and Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) incorporate the concepts of best management practices, safety and environmental leadership, employee engagement/participation, risk assessment and control, performance measurement and assessment (including leading indicators), communication with stakeholders, employee participation, management review, and continual improvement.

All of the newer ISO management system standards are based upon “continual improvement” and contain common core concepts. The 2015 edition of ISO standards and the draft ISO 45001 incorporate newer management requirements as required in/for all new ISO management system standards, regardless of the nature of the standard (quality, environmental, safety, and others).

Some companies, especially those operating in a global supply chain, may be asked at some point in the future to obtain certification to the ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Management Systems) standard, if approved and published by the ISO. This standard is expected to emphasize a much higher level of safety leadership and by a broader team (not just delegating to an HR or H&S Manager), and “meaningful” employee involvement in processes associated with risk identification and control. This implies broader employee participation in things like hazard identification, problem solving, the sharing of risk data, and participation in special purpose teams, for example. Companies can start taking action “now” to prepare for the (likely) ISO 45001 standard.

However, the new ISO 45001 may not be the best fit for all types and sizes of companies, even though it is intended to be able to be used by all. That being the case, the ASSE/ANSI Z10 is a very viable standard that is the basis for the development of other management standards and has recently been reaffirmed by the ANSI/ASSE Z10 committee.

There are many things to evaluate and consider in selection and implementation of appropriate safety, environmental and combined management systems.

Sixth Sense Safety Solutions can help you with understanding where your company stands “now” compared to what consensus standards require (gap analysis), help identify system options, develop programs, and audit against existing systems.

Contact Sixth Sense Safety Solutions today for consultation and help with determining what might be best for you!


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