The existing standard “AS/NZS4801” is set to be replaced by ISO45001 :2018 during the first half of 2018 and certified organisations will be given a 3-year transition period from the date of publication. The 4801 standard is used as the benchmark to assess safety management systems for Australian and New Zealand organisations. Whilst the new standard will have the same core focus, the changes that have been made to the standard will take worker safety from local to global and take a more preventative approach.
As technology continues to make the business world smaller the implementation of a new safety ISO will aim to globally harmonise the occupational health and safety benchmark in Australia & New Zealand.
Organisations today are taking advantage of improved technology to expand their business worldwide and as such we have seen an increase in Australian businesses being responsible for workers on a global scale. The new standard will look beyond a local footprint and provide a systematic approach to managing safety, even where workers are located in different countries under different jurisdictions.
The new standard will make specific changes with key differences to how safety management systems are developed, applied and considered in the workplace. This will continue to involve worker participation in the development of an organisation’s safety management system and the system will be expected to respond to the needs of stakeholders on a broader spectrum. This will move the focus on safety from a compliance focus to a considered approach for anyone who may be affected by the organisations decisions around safety.
Other important changes include an increased commitment and obligation from top level management in identifying workplace risks and integrating requirements into the organisations processes. Meaning that management will also be responsible for the organisations continual commitment to worker safety. There is a strong emphasis on risk management including taking proactive measures for continual improvement and the management of outsourced processes to include contractors who are engaged to perform various duties on the organisations behalf.
The biggest change that we see is that there is potential for organisations of any size to show that they have some form of safety management system. This will include sole traders, contractors and home based businesses who may not have had any such documented system in place previously.
Each organisation will need to develop its own safety management system specific to their own needs, there will be no one-size-fits-all approach to worker safety as organisations will need to prove their approach and decisions made based on their own risk assessments.
On a local level, the benefits if organisations can adopt the more preventative and risk based approaches the standard offers will mean that everyone from worker to community should see workplace accidents reduced, if not eliminated in the years ahead.
If you would like to know more about ISO45001 or need assistance in making your organisation’s transition contact Marshall & Byrne on 1300 207 698.
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