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Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems: A look at Risk-Based Thinking.

“Some risks that are thought to be unknown are not unknown. With some foresight and critical thought, some risks that first seem unforeseen, can in fact be foreseen.” – Daniel Wagner (Country Risk Solutions).

What is risk-based thinking?

Risk-based thinking is something we do every day. It is a “mindset to proactively improve the certainty of achieving outcomes utilising methods that consider threats and opportunities” (Laqua, 2018). Risk-based thinking encompasses thinking holistically about identifying and mitigating risks in an organisation by thinking about internal and external issues on a strategic and operational level. Organisations adopt risk-based thinking to adapt to challenging environments and to make better decisions when applied to:

  • Designing a process or product.
  • Improving a process or product.
  • Improving communication throughout an organisation.
  • Reducing failure and inefficiencies.
  • Reducing the likelihood and frequency of losses.
  • Assisting with budget allocations for capital and operational expenses.

Risk based thinking can be supported by tools like an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHS-MS).

 

What is an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHS-MS)?

Occupational Health and Safety is a multi-disciplinary field that relates to health, safety, risk, and welfare issues in the workplace. An OHS-MS includes health and safety policies, procedures, work instructions, guidelines, plans, and records. A good OHS-MS is imperative for increased safety, reduced risk and enhanced health and wellbeing in any organisation.

 

Why does my business need an OHS-MS?

There are many reasons to consider implementing an OHS-MS:

Having an OHS-MS creates an environment that is safer for employees, visitors, and contractors (Interested Parties).

  • It minimises risk by providing the structure for preventative and protective measures.
  • It fulfils legal requirements.
  • It encourages continuous improvement.
  • It improves OHS-MS performance in an ever-changing organisation.
  • It assists management to anticipate changing circumstances.
  • It determines risks and opportunities.

 

What is ISO 45001:2018?

ISO 45001:2018 is the first international standard for implementing an OHS-MS. Implementing ISO 45001:2018 improves OHS-MS performance. The ISO 45001:2018 standard will officially replace the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard in September 2021. The standard of ISO 45001:2018 has a 10 Clause Structure which can easily integrate with ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and any other ISO Standard with its high-level clause structure related to Edward Deming’s Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) Model. Through its framework it helps an organisation of any size to enhance health and wellbeing while increasing workplace safety and reducing risk enabling protective and preventative measures. ISO 45001:2018 is to be aligned to the OHS Act. The PDCA is a process used to achieve continuous improvement and involves:

Determining risks, opportunities and establishing objectives.

  • Implementing objectives.
  • Monitoring, measuring, and reporting on results.
  • Correcting any areas of concern and planning its recovery from risks.

 

How does ISO 45001:2018 benefit an organisation?

ISO 45001:2018 can benefit an organisation by:

  • Enhancing employee safety through awareness, consultation and participation of workers.
  • Avoiding potential accidents by identifying risks and hazards.
  • Encouraging a proactive safety philosophy.
  • Boosting stakeholder confidence and encouraging potential clients and business through less down time due to a reduction in health & safety incidents and injuries.
  • Top Management participation and engagement.
  • Increased productivity and employee wellness.
  • A competitive advantage because ISO standards are globally recognised and required to create assurance for clients.
  • It assists in gaining an understanding of the importance of the context of an organisation.
  • It benefits an organisation by providing a practical approach to developing an Occupational Health & Safety Management System in a structured manner.

For more information on how you can protect your business with ISO 45001:2018 contact WWISE on 08610 99473 or visit https://www.wwise.co.za.