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Shaping the Future of Safety Management Systems

Mar 28, 2019

At a recent meeting of ISO technical committee (TC) 283, more than 80 representatives TC283 Meeting from over 30 countries throughout the world met in Dallas to discuss raising greater recognition of the ISO 45001 standard, developing an ISO 45001 implementation handbook and moving new global standards projects forward.

The ISO/TC 283 Committee is responsible for the ongoing development and enhancement of ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS): Requirements With Guidance for Use, and the development of supporting guidance and standards.

“The technical committee’s role is about maximizing the impact of the existing ISO 45001 standard and the further work that we’re capable of doing to influence global OH&S performance,” says Martin Cottam, TC 283 committee chair. “We want to help influence global OH&S performance and these standards are a means to that end.”

In opening the meeting, held March 4-8 at ISN headquarters, which sponsored the event, ASSP President Rixio Medina, CSP, CPP, commended committee members for their work and commitment to improving workplace safety.

“ASSP is pleased to support this meeting and the global standards initiative overall,” he said. “Through such global teamwork, we will be better positioned to make significant progress and move safety forward.”

Throughout the week, different working groups met to discuss standards definitions, communications around the committee’s activities, the continuing work on the implementation handbook and ISO/AWI 45003, Occupational Health and Safety Management: Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Guidelines.

One major initiative of the communications task group is to help organizations and safety professionals understand how ISO 45001 can help them improve not only the safety and health of workers, but also their organization’s overall performance.

“Our role is to amplify IS0 45001,” says Kathy Seabrook, chair of the TC 283 communications task group. “We want organizations to examine their OSH performance and help them understand how the standard aligns with their business strategies and their business performance.”

Taking this work a step further is a working group tasked with developing the implementation handbook, which will provide small-to-medium-sized businesses with guidance on how they can apply the standard within their organizations to improve overall occupational safety and health performance.

 “It’s very important to further develop the ISO 45001 standard into the future to improve the usability of the document,” says Barbara Libowitzky, head of the Austrian delegation to TC 283 and member of the implementation handbook working group. “Our hope is that, through this handbook, companies will develop a greater understanding of ISO 45001 and how they can best implement it to improve workplace safety.”

The development of the ISO/AWI 45003 guidance document is aimed at bringing a greater focus to overall worker health, as well as safety, particularly in regard to how safety professionals can incorporate psychological risk analysis into their occupational safety and health management systems.

“We have to evaluate the potential stressors in a workplace that could bring on psychosocial risks,” says Ken Clayman, member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to TC 283. “The intent of this document is to help organizations and safety professionals more effectively identify and address psychosocial hazards and risks and risks that may exist within the workplace.”  

Moving forward, TC 283 and the associated working groups will continue to develop both the ISO 45001 implementation handbook and the ISO/AWI 45003 guidance document, with publication targeted for late 2019 and early 2021, respectively. The TC’s next meeting will take place in October in Kigali, Rwanda.

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