The new ISO 45001 will follow the high-level Annex SL structure, which means there will likely be more explicit requirements around risk-based thinking. But in terms of implementation, what does that mean for you as a health and safety professional?
- Health and safety leaders must develop a proactive, preventative approach to risk (compared to traditionally reactive structures)
- Top management must take overall accountability for the protection of workers' health and safety obligations (the number of directors jailed for H&S negligence tripled in 2016)
- Organisations must take into account all 'interested parties' – which now includes the workforce.
These changes alter the responsibilities of risk management in that everyone can now be held accountable. The buck, ultimately, stops with business directors – which is why, after an incident, they need to be able to prove that they've taken every step possible to mitigate a risk or prevent one from occurring.
If your health and safety system involves a hand-written incident logbook, you’re putting your staff, reputation and business at risk. Not only does a logbook require people to remember it, find it, write in it, then inform the health and safety team of the incident, but it's likely you don't have a process in place to prevent the incident happening again.
Paper files in a folder won't help you discover risk patterns or identify potential risks which you could mitigate to prevent a problem before it even occurred. That's where software helps. Systems such as EQMS Incident & Accident Manager set out a clear process for staff to follow to record potential risks and hazards as they occur. Allowing any user to highlight a potential risk means your quality team will have a clear and instant overview of all areas of risk in the company. This includes those which may not have been obvious, such as risks occurring on another site to the location of the health and safety team.
Moving from a paper-based or spreadsheet-based health and safety process may feel like an unnecessary headache, but it'll save you considerable sums – and time – in the long run, as you'll be able to:
- Recognise trends and mitigate risks before they occur, reducing incident rates and keeping your insurance premiums low
- Automate workflows to reduce admin and introduce a culture of responsibility to your workforce
- Remain compliant to regulatory standards at all times and avoid the associated costs of non-conformance
- Identify potential gaps in training to ensure staff are fully up-to-date with all required health and safety training and to avoid preventable accidents
- Provide easy and fast audit trails in the wake of any audit or post-incident investigation, without adding to administrative demands.
EQMS Incident & Accident Manager is an easy-to-use, off-the-shelf, configurable system that helps you manage your new 'risk-based thinking' approach to health and safety.
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