ISO 45001 our new H&S accreditation & how it helped with risk management during COVID-19
As is the case for any responsible Manufacturing business, it is a fundamental requirement to have in place a structured and fully engaged Health & Safety Management System, whereby the first priority is always the Health, Safety & Welfare of all those the business employs or comes into contact with.
Palace Chemicals has long since maintained an effective Health & Safety Management structure, which for the past 6 years has been accredited by the BSI to BS OHSAS 18001:2007 – The UK standard for Occupational Health & Safety Management. This British Standard has recently been superseded by the new International Standard – ISO 45001:2018 which applies a broader risk-based approach to ensuring all health & safety management controls within any business are constantly assessed & reviewed to ensure the system remains effective & fully compliant.
Palace Chemicals Ltd have recently completed the migration process towards accreditation from BS OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001, a program of work which has been in progress for almost 2 years and which by early May 2020 had attained 100% accreditation to the new International standard.
The benefit of having this modern approach for our health & safety management system could not have been more relevant & valuable than during the recent Covid-19 outbreak. This developing crisis required all aspects of the business operation (Manufacturing, Transport, Distribution & Administration) to assess & identify how, when & where action needed to be taken to reduce the risk of infection. The process of risk assessment included identifying the most effective means of protection for all those who engage with the business, both internally as employees and externally with contractors, customers, drivers and any other persons or organisations we may interact with.
The principles which underpin our Health & Safety Management system required the identification of all activities where a risk may arise combined followed by the application of effective control measures; changes to operating procedures and where appropriate the elimination of activities. All options were considered and applied as necessary to ensure the most effective means of social distancing controls and hygiene controls could be introduced so long as Covid-19 remains a threat to society.
Throughout this time, it has been important to maintain a constant and highly visible level of daily communication with all persons who engage with the business both internally & externally to increase awareness as much as possible for all those at risk and clearly advise what was expected from them for their own protection. The distribution of internal memos, posters, markings on Hi-Viz tabards, floor markings and reduced access features to visitors are all examples of what has now become custom & practice throughout the working day.
As is the case for the wider society, the level of engagement with the control measures in place depends greatly upon the behaviour of those we seek to protect. Hence it remains a fundamental requirement for all our management team to constantly observe & review those controls and identify where they can be improved, either by increasing the level of process intervention, or having to remind, emphasise and ultimately enforce the control measures established for all individuals to follow & take personal responsibility in maintaining the necessary standards of social distancing & hygiene.
Our new accreditation to ISO 45001 demonstrates its versatility in applying the principles of control needed when managing any type of hazard or harm that can present a risk to all involved with the scope of the business. Covid-19 has presented unique challenges and was certainly not a foreseen hazard to our staff & visitors, but nonetheless the structure of our modern ISO 45001 accredited Health & Safety Management System has proven its role in identifying, applying, monitoring & assessing the effectiveness of the measures we have taken to reduce or eliminate all types of risk within a busy manufacturing environment.
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