Standard is a just formula that describes the best way people can do things. It could be about anything such as making a product or rendering a service. For example, environmental management standards help to reduce environmental impacts and waste and provide sustainability.
ISO which is called the international organization for Standardization has a network of national standard bodies and has more than thirty-eight thousand standards currently.
But three ISO management system standards stood out for any health and safety professional.
Namely, the ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001: 2015, and ISO 45001:2015.
Similarly, the three standards are closely related to each other for they follow after the Annex L structure.
Annex L was formerly called Annex SL and it is a section of the ISO/IEC Directives part 1 that prescribes how ISO management system standards should be written.
Before 2012, every ISO management system standard was written differently, now, they all have the same structure courtesy of Annex L.
It contains ten clauses in the arrangement thereby allowing for easy integration when you are combining any of the standards with each other.
Please find below the Annex L structure for every management system standard.
- Normative reference.
- Terms and definitions
- Context of the organization.
- Performance evaluation
let’s take a look at the brief explanations of the three ISO management system standards every health and safety professional needs to know.
1. Quality management system –ISO 9001-2015.
ISO 9001:2015 requirement is the only standard in the ISO 9000 family series to which organizations can get certified.
Other standards in the series are ISO 9000:2015-fundamentals and vocabulary (definitions), ISO 9004:2018 quality management-quality of an organization-guidance to achieve sustained success (continuous improvement ), and ISO 19011:2018-guidelines for auditing management systems.
ISO 9001:2015 standard came into being in 2015. And since then, it has been widely used by companies and organizations to improve quality and customer satisfaction in their workplace.
According to ISO, more than one million organizations from more than 170 countries of the world have applied the requirements of the standard. They use it to manage their quality management systems.
So the implementation has helped them to organize their processes and to remain in business. And to retain their customers and it brought about greater efficiency in the management of resources within the organization.
It provides a process-oriented approach to the management of the system. And also the requirements of the standard are generic and can be applied to any organization regardless of the size, products, or services it provides.
Just like every other management system standard, QMS ISO 9001:2015 is based on the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT methodology also known as the Deming cycle.
2. Environmental management system ISO 14001:2015.
This standard was developed in the year 2015 specifically to cater to environmental issues holistically. It’s standard in the family of ISO 14000 that organizations can be certified to.
also, other standards in this family are ISO 14000:2016-general guidelines on implementation. And ISO 14005:2019-guidelines for a flexible approach to phased implementation.
According to ISO, there are over 300000 certifications to ISO 14001 in 171 countries around the world. An organization can use it to enhance their environmental performance.
It is suitable for organizations of all types and sizes and its factors in environmental issues relevant to the organization’s operations. Issues like
- air pollutants
- sewage issues
- soil contaminations
- Air emissions
- Releases to land
- Releases to water
- Raw material and natural resource use
- Energy uses
- Energy emissions such as radiation, heat, or vibrations
- By-products and waste
- The environment is affected by the physical characteristics of the company.
Consequently, organizations subscribing to the standard in the management of their environment in the workplace enjoy many benefits.
The benefits are
- It increases leadership in the organization and it encourages worker participation in environmental activities.
- It improves the company’s reputation and ensures they continue in business for a very long time.
- Reduces cost and increases efficiency in the overall operations of the company. And this, in turn, gives the company a financial advantage over competitors in the market.
- It integrates the suppliers into the management process encouraging better environmental performance.
- It demonstrates compliance with current and future regulatory requirements.
3. Occupational health and safety management system ISO 45001:2018.
This standard came into existence in 2018. But before it was drafted and adopted, OHSAS 18001 was in use.
In developing the ISO 45001:2018, great consideration was given to OSHAS 18001, the International labour organization ILO-OSH guidelines, and International Labour Standards and Conventions-(ILS).
The standard is process-based, unlike what we have in OHSAS 18001, which is procedure based. And it considers both risk and opportunities, unlike OHSAS which considers only the risk.
Every day, in our workplaces, workers lose their lives due to incidences and illnesses linked to work activities. These are preventable deaths if the necessary precautions and measures are in place.
ISO 45001:2018 aims to help organizations put the measures in place and prevent these fatalities.
However, the benefit of ISO 45001:2018 is endless but an organization has to implement it correctly for it to work for them.
Correct implementation of this standard will help an organization to provide a healthy and safer workplace for its workers. And for other people who may be affected by their activities.
And it helps prevent deaths and work-related illnesses and diseases and it will continually improve the organization’s occupational health and safety performance.
All these benefits can put the organization’s reputation in good light as a safe place to work, with other associated benefits of reduction in insurance cost and increase in staff morale thereby making the company fulfil its set occupational health and safety Objectives.
Any health and safety professional that wants to excel greatly must-have knowledge of these three ISO management system standards.
Not enough to know the standards, you need the skills to implement them and to make you competent.
The knowledge can help you to progress in the profession of management system auditing depending on any of the schemes you want which could be on ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 or ISO 45001:2018.
And this will contribute a huge success to your work and ensures that the quality, environmental and occupational health and safety affair at the workplace is in good shape.
Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.