ISO 45001: Your Occupational Health and Safety
In every job, there is an element of risk. This may be minor, such as back and neck problems from sitting at a desk all day, or more serious, such as accidental exposure to dangerous chemicals. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees is protected. Without proper systems in place to mitigate against the risks that a job poses, it is inevitable that someone will be hurt at some point. This poses a big threat to any company with an employee able to make a claim against their employer for compensation. Not only do they risk losing an employee, but there is also often a big financial cost for being negligent when it comes to occupational health and safety.
A New Zealand engineering company was recently taken to court following a tragic accident that saw a 19-year-old man exposed to toxic chemicals, causing brain damage. The man was found unconscious in the engine room of a vessel, and the damage the chemicals he had been exposed to caused left him unable to work. His employer, Aimex Limited, was charged with failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees by exposing an individual to risk of harm or illness. The maximum fine for this charge is $1.5 million, however the fine Aimex received was less than that – they were ordered to pay a total of $340,000. The judge observed that various bits of paperwork to avoid such an event were in place, but that the employee should have received better training and been supervised.
The best way an employer can protect both its employees’ health and the company’s finances is to have an occupational health and safety system (OHS) in place that adheres to the ISO 45001 standards for protecting workplace health and safety. The latest version of these standards is ISO 45001:2018, which helps a business ensure they are compliant with all current regulations, protecting them legally should any claim arise.
The biggest benefit of gaining ISO45001 certification is ensuring the wellbeing of your employees. This builds a culture of trust, enabling your employees to work for you without fear of them coming to harm. Not only is this positive for building a good culture in your business, it also reduces the number of days employees need to take off work due to injury or illness, increasing productivity and profits. Being ISO 45001 certified shows employees that you care about their health, helping you keep the best people within your team. This helps when it comes to recruiting new staff too and could be the difference between them working for you and working for a competitor.
Financially, being ISO 45001 certified could also reduce your company’s insurance premiums. Proving your standards for protecting workplace health and safety shows you are aware of all risks that pose a threat to the health and safety of your staff, and that you have system in place to mitigate against these risks. This shows that your business is less likely to need to claim on your insurance, as an event requiring such a claim is less likely to occur.
OHS certification is a crucial requirement for a business that cares about both the wellbeing of its employees and its financial health too. ISO 45001 certification is something every business should strive to achieve.