New handbook helps SMEs create safe and healthy workplaces

Health and safety at work not only saves lives, it is essential to effective business performance. ISO 45001 is the first and only International Standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management, a result of agreed good practice from around the world. A new handbook has just been published to help small organizations get the most out of it.

Decent work is safe work, and few would disagree. Yet still some 2.78 million people die from occupational-related accidents or diseases every year. Add to that hundreds of millions of non-fatal accidents and health conditions and it is clear that the cost to society and the economy is significant.

ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, aims to improve those statistics by providing an agreed framework to reduce workplace risks, enhance health, increase safety and promote well-being at work.

A new handbook, published jointly by ISO and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), provides additional guidance specifically to small organizations on the implementation of ISO 45001.

Prepared by the group of experts who developed the standard, ISO 45001:2018Occupational health and safety management systems – A practical guide for small organizations gives an overview of the requirements of ISO 45001 and outlines ways in which small organizations can establish an OH&S management system, taking into account their particular challenges and needs.

The benefits of such a system are many, including reduced risk of work-related ill-health and injury, greater protection for people who work with or for the organization, a more positive company culture, and an improved reputation amongst clients, suppliers and the community.