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Towards a Safer Workplace with ISO 45001 - Guest article by Kaltrina Istrefi

A comparative analysis report of job quality conducted by the International Labour Organization states that the exposure to physical risks in a workplace is very common. More than half of workers in many regions are exposed to repetitive hand and arm movements, leading to a higher risk of work-related accidents. Moreover, stress continues to be a highly concerning issue! Employees have to adjust to the ever-changing work environment. New technologies, new products, services or campaigns make it very difficult for the employees to separate personal life from work life, as they have to work a lot harder and with longer hours.

“Prevention” is crucial to ensure work safety; it is more effective than treatment recovery or therapy would ever be. It is at this point of the discourse that ISO 45001 comes in!

Why ISO 45001?

A poor management of health and safety inside the workplace has without a doubt a negative effect on employees. But it also affects the organization overall, since employee trust loss can lead to business disruption, reputational damage, loss of partners and investors, which in the long run can cost bankruptcy. To combat this problem, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has created the ultimate standard: ISO 45001, in order to help organizations protect their employees from any kind of harm.

ISO 45001 is the first international standard for occupational health and safety. This standard provides guidance for the improvement of work safety, and a user-friendly framework for the implementation and maintenance of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS). It can be applied to organizations of different industries, including governmental agencies, and other affected third parties.

First and foremost, ISO 45001 has a preventive approach on the safety management of hazardous processes inside any organization. ISO 45001 helps identifying and address activities, processes, procedures or policies that can potentially harm the employees and others.

Building a Safety Culture

The fact that there are employees earning their living in bad working conditions, not having insurance or any other social protection, leaves us to believe that not all of them are aware that health and safety management should be considered in the first place. The same applies for organizations – many are just not aware of the importance and the effect of ISO 45001 implementation.

This mindset should be challenged. Managers and directors should understand that investing time, energy and money in measures for a safer workplace is not an expense but rather an investment. At the same time employees should understand that the procedures, policies or other measures put in place after the implementation of ISO 45001 are there for the greater good, for their own good.

Summary

Employees who feel safe and know that the organization is taking care of them and their work environment they will be more responsible, engaged and committed to their tasks. Occupational health and safety management not only avert damage, injury, or death – it helps keep the organizations running, and affects positively businesses and communities.

Kaltrina Istrefi is the Digital Communications Manager at PECB. She holds a degree in Marketing at the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Economics. Kaltrina is certified against ISO 9001 – Quality Management and ISO/IEC 27001- Information Security Management.

 

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