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ISO 45001 Implementation Tips

Implementing ISO 45001 is a process, and one that won’t happen overnight. However, many companies find that the benefits of implementing ISO 45001 — including fewer accidents, lower costs, and better productivity — are well worth the effort it takes.

Whether you’re just getting started with the ISO 45001 standard or transitioning from OHSAS 18001, there are a few critical first steps you can take to help ensure a smooth transition.

1. Familiarize yourself with the standard

One of the best ways to prepare for an ISO 45001 implementation is to get acquainted with the standard. You can purchase a copy of the full standard here. ISO also offers a free brochure that will help you learn more about the standard and what it can do for your organization. And if you’re just starting out, we’ve created a 3-minute guide to ISO 45001 that will explain the most important aspects.

Many organizations now offer training courses based on the standard. A quick Google search will turn up a number of different options. Some companies also opt to bring in outside consultants, either for training or to assist with the implementation. This can be especially valuable if you don't have the time or in-house expertise to implement the ISO 45001 management system on your own.

2. Identify gaps in your existing safety management system

Once you've gotten familiar with the standard, you'll be in a better position to evaluate the gaps in your existing management system. Now is the time to assess your current safety performance in order to find and fix the shortcomings that exist. What things are you already doing that could support ISO 45001? What are the biggest areas that need improvement? Even if you have a strong safety management system in place, such as OHSAS 18001, there will likely be some gaps that need to be addressed.

3. Get executive leadership on board

The new ISO 45001 standard calls for a top-down commitment to safety. Not only are executives expected to be involved in your safety efforts, but they will also be held accountable for worker wellness. How successful your organization's ISO 45001 implementation will be depends on your ability to secure management buy-in. It is critical that C-suite executives are bought in to your ISO 45001 from the beginning. Without support from company leadership, it will be impossible to achieve full compliance with the standard.

4. Engage your employees

Another key ingredient in ISO 45001 is worker consultation and participation. With that in mind, it’s wise to start engaging employees early in the process. By involving workers from the beginning, you’ll build trust and foster a sense of ownership for your safety management system.

How exactly do you get employees involved in your safety management system? First, clearly communicate the changes that are coming, why it’s happening, and what workers can expect. Distribute relevant information about ISO 45001 so that everyone can participate effectively. Encourage workers to share feedback, whether through surveys, safety committees, or at regularly scheduled safety meetings. Finally, provide time and opportunities for employees to get involved.

5. Implement health & safety management software

If you haven't already, now is the time to consider implementing health and safety management software. Having a safety management system in place will make the entire transition to ISO 45001 easier. Safety management software can help you proactively identify hazards, increase worker participation, enhance visibility, and improve management accountability. It can also help you keep track of all the information you’ll need to demonstrate compliance if your organization decides to pursue ISO 45001 certification.

Next steps

By following these five implementation tips, you can set yourself up for success with the ISO 45001 standard. Next, check out this article on how safety management software can help you conform to ISO 45001.

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