In a highly volatile, unstable work marketplace, what separates a successful thriving business from one that goes under is not always a significant difference in operations style or business approach. In many competitive industries, business’ are struggling to get an edge and the difference between one that survives and one that does not can be something as ‘minor’ as small price differences between their products, the business’ location, or that one business acted promptly in getting their operational practices up to industry standard, while another one left it to the last minute, thinking they would get to it ‘eventually’. In the business world, it is not good practice to get to something ‘eventually’, to remain competitive business’ should act at their earliest convenience. This has never been truer than with migration to the new ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Standards.
Society is changing. Over the past year we have seen a significant increase of concerns over personal hygiene, handwashing etiquette, social distancing, and so on. As a result of changes within society, the business world is changing with it. New Occupational Health and Safety rules, regulations, and laws are now common across workplaces across Australia, with individual business’ being required to do their bit to create a hygienic, safe, and caring workplace for their employees, clients, and customers. Creating an OH&S compliant workplace not only helps business’ achieve regulatory and legal compliance, it can also minimise downtime, increase productivity, and in general, create a much happier, more productive work environment. This is because staff will be assured that their employer has taken the necessary steps to develop a supportive work environment for them, which will free them of any potential stress or concern over whether the business is complying with safe work practices.
Occupational Health and Safety compliance guidelines have undergone some significant changes since 2018, with the previous industry standards for work health and safety, the OHSAS 18001 Safety Management Systems and the AS/NZS OH&S Standards both being phased out in favour of a much more efficient, holistic, broader in scope standard to help business’ develop the most efficient, effective work health and safety practices for their needs, the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Standards. To retain their compliance to OH&S regulations, business’ who were certified to one of the previous regulations will be required to migrate over to the new ISO 45001 Standards by next year. The original migration cut off date was March 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic having a significantly detrimental effect on business’ ability to continue their operations, the deadline has been extended by six months, until September 2021. However, as the OH&S guidelines and strategies contained within these new standards operate in a much more holistic, all-encompassing way than the previous standards did, and actively work at developing both a physical hazard-free environment and a mentally supportive one, it is strongly recommended that business’ migrate as soon as they possibly can, to reap the full benefits of these new standards.
Delaying could potentially put your business at risk
The ISO 45001 Standards have superseded the previous OH&S guidelines, because they approach the issue of developing effective business work health and safety practices through a much broader scope, which works at identifying potential risks before they have a chance to impact operations, and then implementing protective measures to ensure the potential impact is mitigated. Further, these new standards look at developing strong business OH&S practices across various points of the supply chain, rather than just at the business operations itself. This means that these standards require business’ to assess how the companies that they work with, their contractors and supply chain, are managing their own risks, and make an active decision to only work with business’ that have implemented strong OH&S strategies across their workplace.
By implementing these new standards as soon as possible, your business stands to identify potential OH&S risks across its operations and take active steps to minimise their effects, and develop a much more inclusive, supportive work culture, with a clear chain-of-command for employees in the event of an incident, with all staff being briefed on where their own responsibilities lie in promoting and developing a safe, supportive work culture.
The new standards are proactive while the old ones were reactive
Perhaps the most significant distinction between the new ISO 45001 Standards, and the ones being gradually phased out, is that the ISO 45001 Standards approach the issue of strong OH&S practices from a proactive, forward-thinking perspective. This means not only minimising existing OH&S threats and issues, but also assessing the entire business operations to identify potential threats, areas that are not operating as efficiently as they could, and so on, and then taking preventative steps to ensure that they never have a chance to impact operations.
This contrasts with the old standards, which focused exclusively on controlling hazards, which means that they worked at mitigating the effects of an OH&S issue after it had occurred. While this is obviously a very important step in developing a strong OH&S management system, the new standards work at preventing these issues from ever occurring in the first place, while still having appropriate measures and processes in place for mitigating the effects of a threat or hazard after it has occurred. Because of the broader scope the ISO 45001 Standards bring to business’, they are now the first port-of-call for all companies wanting to develop an effective OH&S Management System, and it is recommended that they are implemented at your earliest convenience.
If you would like to learn more about how migrating to these new standards could help strengthen your operations, and work at developing a safer, more supportive work culture, then please call Anitech’s safety systems consultants today on 1300 802 163. After filling them in about the particulars of your business, and its specific OH&S requirements, they will be able to discuss with you the ways in which these standards could be implemented across your organisation to help it reach its goals, provide peace of mind to its employees, and gain a competitive edge. Is there anything that could be safer for the future success of your business than that?
Please click here to learn more about how migrating to the ISO 45001 standards ASAP is a good business strategy.