While 2020 was a tough year for business’ across Australia, the successful way many employers handled some of the challenges they faced is a tribute to their strong work ethic, the resilience of their staff, and the willingness of the community to support organisations in need. Business’ across Australia responded to the challenges of 2020 by analysing their operational structure and working out how it could be adjusted and altered to ensure that it still provides the same quality service to customers, but in the safest, most secure, manner. With 2020 almost behind us, companies may be wondering what they can do to ensure next year is a successful one for them, and the answer is simple: continue to reassure their staff and customers that they are a safe and reputable organisation to deal with.
There has been a lot of concern about safe workplaces throughout 2020, and business’ have been working to demonstrate their commitment to high safety standards, in ways such as auditing their workspace, supplying onsite personal hygiene equipment, and so on. However, while these measures may focus on individual work health and safety concerns within the business, they are only addressing potential OH&S issues on a case-by-case basis, and failing to develop strategies to protect the operations as a whole. However, through the implementation of a certified OH&S Management System, business’ are able to meet their OH&S requirements in a unified manner, ensure that they are not overlooking anything, and keep up with their marketplace competitors.
Offer safety, security, and productivity with ISO 45001
In 2018, The International Organization for Standardization released what is now the industry standard across the world for developing high Occupational Health and Safety practices across a workplace, the ISO 45001 Standards. By adopting a holistic approach to developing effective work health and safety practices, these standards ensure the goals of management, individual staff, and the entire operations, are aligned, and working towards the same OH&S goals. They differ from the previous work health and safety standards, OHSAS 18001 and AS/NZS 4801, by applying a preventative approach to work health and safety. This means that the standards help business’ to audit their entire premises, assess workspaces and equipment, and gauge for weak spots, in order to identify potential OH&S risks and hazards, before they have a chance to impact operations.
Business’ that were previously certified to one of these standards should strongly consider migration to ISO 45001 for the new year. While business’ have until September 2021 to migrate to retain their regulatory compliance, delaying migration stands to negatively impact business’. This is because the new standards provide a more cohesive approach to developing safe work practices, and work at ensuring that employees are both physically and mentally safe. Business’ that are certified to these standards demonstrate to other companies that they have a commitment to go above and beyond when it comes to developing a safe work environment. Further, business’ that are not certified to these standards risk being seen as behind the times, non-compliant, and not doing everything they can to develop a safe, supportive environment for their staff and customers.
To help make 2021 a successful, safe, and profitable year for your business, it should migrate to these standards as early as it can in the new year. This means that it will start the year in an advantageous position, demonstrating to the marketplace that it is safe to deal with, has gone the extra mile in developing a safe work culture, and is conducting regular audits of its processes to test for weak spots, and then work at mitigating their potential impact on operations.
Once these risks have been identified, the business is then able to take proactive measures to minimise the potential for injury on staff or the operations, ensuring that the work environment remains safe and productive. This is distinctive from the previous standards, which only addressed work health and safety from a reactive approach, through mitigating the effects of existing hazards. These new standards work to ensure that an incident never occurs in the first place, and that if it does, there is a clear procedure in place for what to do to mitigate its effects, reduce downtime to operations, and keep people safe.
Three easy steps to migration
For companies already certified to one of the existing OH&S Standards, migration to ISO 45001 can be completed in three straight-forward, clear steps: A Gap Analysis, the Integration process, and Training staff on the new Management System.
- Gap Analysis: This step gets your operations from Point A to B. Specifically, it involves conducting an analysis of your existing OH&S practices to ascertain what is already compliant to ISO 45001, and what is not. After identifying where your business stands in relation to ISO 45001 compliance, and what needs to be done to achieve it, the process moves onto the next step.
- Integration: This step works at integrating and altering your existing OH&S practices to ensure they migrate to ISO 45001 compliance. It allows the business to understand the limitations of their existing OH&S practices, and how through getting them ISO 45001 compliant they have been strengthened, thus ensuring a safer, more productive, work environment for everyone. The ISO 45001 Standards utilise the same High-Level Structure as other ISO Standards, including ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management, so if your business has previously certified to these standards, the integration process will be even easier.
- Training: Once the business has demonstrated its compliance to ISO 45001, it should work at training its staff and management on the new OH&S Management System. This ensures that everyone understand their role and responsibility in keeping the workplace safe, know what to do in the event of an incident, and so on. By adequately training staff on the particulars of the new system, your business is ensuring that the chances of potential OH&S risks impacting operations is minimised, as everyone is on the same page about what to do in the event of an incident.
When it comes to reflecting on 2020, you can do it from either a pessimistic or optimistic perspective. Pessimistically, you could say that it detrimentally impacted companies across Australia in a myriad of ways, ranging from financial, to safety, to staff morale. However, you could optimistically say that 2020 presented business’ with a unique set of challenges, and many rose to the occasion, finding innovative ways to work, interact with their customers, and so on. Successful business’ work at meeting challenges head-on, and adapting to difficult situations, and these standards help companies do both.
If you are ready to meet the business challenges of 2021 head-on, then please call Anitech’s safety systems consultants today on 1300 802 163. They will discuss how these standards can serve business’ from a range of industries, and how they can strengthen your operations and provide peace of mind to both staff and customers. Is there any better way to greet the new year than that?
Please click here to read more about how these standards can give your business that extra oomph needed for thriving in challenging situations.