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Global Focus on Safety Management Systems Grows: Report From ISO TC 283

Nov 11, 2019

Industry consensus standards provide the foundation for developing and improving anISO Technical Committee 283 meeting in Kigali Rwanda effective safety and health management system. These standards are developed by committees of safety professionals and others who offer their collective expertise toward developing consensus on best practices in occupational safety and health. 

On such committee is ISO technical committee (TC) 283. At its recent meeting, held Oct. 6-12 in Kigali, Rwanda, and hosted by the Rwanda Standards Board, TC 283 continued its development and enhancement of the ISO 45000 family of standards, including ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS): Requirements With Guidance for Use.

Nearly 100 delegates from 44 countries, including 24 African countries attended the meeting, each bringing a unique perspective on how the TC can help organizations around the world address safety and health challenges.

According to TC 283 Chair Martin Cottam, hosting the meeting in Africa offered many benefits in terms of gathering diverse perspectives and gaining a better understanding of how safety professionals from different nations are managing their safety and health programs.

“For the first time, we’ve seen the impact of the large number of African countries that have been able to participate,” he says. “This has shifted and changed the focus of our discussion and allowed us to learn more about the OHS challenges across the continent of Africa.”

Over the course of the meeting, working group discussions included inputs and improvements to the ISO 45001 handbook for small- to medium-sized enterprises, preliminary work on ISO/AWI 45002, Occupational health and safety management – General guidelines for the implementation of ISO 45001:2018, and the continued development of ISO/WD 45003, Occupational health and safety management – Psychological Health in the Workplace – Guidelines.

The committee anticipates it publishing the ISO 45001 handbook in late 2019, while a working draft of ISO/AWI 45002 is expected in early 2020.

A highlight of the meeting was a panel discussion featuring delegations from seven African countries discussing the worker safety and health challenges they face in their regions to provide context on how different nations throughout the continent are approaching safety and health management.

“I’m overwhelmed by how developing nations are embracing ISO 45001,” says U.S. delegate and Technical Advisory Group (TAG) member Kevin Lehner. “As they continue to develop and work to establish their regulatory frameworks, they are relying on 45001.”

Kathy Seabrook, CSP, CFIOSH, EurOSHM, and head of the U.S. delegation, presented information on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 403 OHS standard. Seabrook was a member of the GRI working group that developed the standard, which provides safety-related performance indicators for sustainability and corporate responsibility reporting. Companies will begin reporting using these indicators in January 2021.

Seabrook’s presentation, along with other information presented at the meeting, informed a TC resolution to submit a new work proposal to ISO on leading and lagging indicators.

The TC’s next meetings are scheduled for May 2020 in Mexico and October 2020 in El Salvador.

Listen to our podcast with U.S. TAG chair Vic Toy for further insights on ISO 45001 

Listen to our podcast with U.S. TAG member Ken Clayman to learn more about ISO/WD 45003.

U.S. TAG members and TC 283 Chair Martin Cottam share their thoughts on the TC 283 meeting in Kigali, Rwanda in this series of videos, courtesy of U.S. TAG member Kevin Lehner.

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