A quick glance at recent WHS statistics is enough to make any business aware of the need for improved workplace health and safety. Businesses who sign up to ISO 45001 are expected to foster a culture of continuous improvement of safety and health, looking for opportunities to improve their business health and safety practices and mitigate risks wherever possible.
In this article, we’ll look at some examples of ISO 45001 risks and opportunities and why your business should be engaging in risk and opportunity identification.
What is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001 is the International Organisation for Standardisation’s standard for workplace health and safety management systems. The standard takes a holistic approach to workplace safety, encompassing physical, social and mental health with a focus one continual improvement. Part of that continual improvement process is identifying health and safety risks in your business and finding opportunities to improve your workplace’s health and safety practices.
Why is identifying risks and opportunities required for ISO 45001 compliance?
Identifying workplace health and safety risks and opportunities is a compulsory component of ISO 45001. Clause 6 of ISO 45001 requires businesses to both identify risks and opportunities and formulate actions to address them. This requirement is in keeping with ISO 45001’s mission of taking a proactive approach to health and safety.
ISO 45001 risks and opportunities definition
Examples of ISO 45001 risks and opportunities
To become ISO 45001 certified you need to examine each of your business’s processes and identify existing and potential hazards. Based on those hazards, you need to conduct a risk assessment and an opportunities assessment.
There are two types of risks which can be identified in Clause 184.108.40.206 of ISO 45001:
- Workplace health and safety risks
- Risks impacting your health and safety management system
There are also two types of opportunities which can be identified in Clause 220.127.116.11:
- Opportunities for improving workplace health and safety
- Opportunities for improving the safety management system
Here are some examples of ISO 45001 risks and opportunities:
Example 1: Working From Home
Scenario: Due to an outbreak of Covid-19 your workers are working from home instead of the office.
Risk: A lack of correct ergonomics and OHS practices can cause injury as staff are away from their usual office equipment.
Opportunity: Providing training and correct equipment for team members’ home offices.
Example 2: Harmful Materials
Scenario: One of your supplier’s products uses potentially harmful materials.
Risk: Health risks to your employees and consumers.
Opportunity: Source an alternative material to provide a safer solution to your staff and customers.
Example 3: Machinery
Scenario: There have been several near misses with a piece of machinery at your workshop. While conducting routine maintenance the machinery was switched on by another worker.
Risk: A worker could be electrocuted or injured by moving machinery while performing maintenance.
Opportunity: Examine your current processes and procedures and implement more effective lock-out procedures to ensure machinery can’t be switched on during maintenance.
Benefits of identifying OHS risks and opportunities
Beyond helping your business achieve ISO 45001 compliance, identifying WHS risks and opportunities will provide a range of benefits.
- Identifying risks helps prevent accidents. It’s pretty straightforward, if you are aware of health and safety risks in advance, you’re more likely to be able to prevent potential incidents at your workplace.
- Taking a proactive approach always yields better results. Many businesses take a reactive approach to health and safety, only implementing changes after a serious incident or pattern of incidents has occurred. By being proactive through identifying risks and opportunities you’re heading off potentially damaging incidents and avoiding preventable safety mistakes.
- Identifying opportunities allows for continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a cornerstone of ISO 45001. By actively identifying opportunities for improvement, you’ll be more likely to comply with ISO 45001.
- Your business can become more profitable as well as safer. Health and safety incidents aren’t just damaging to your staff, they’re also damaging to your reputation. Between having to pay sick leave, compensation and wages to replacement workers, health and safety incidents can be extremely costly to your business.
Once you’ve identified your company’s risks and opportunities, what next?
Clause 6 of ISO 45001 requires you to provide detailed plans of how you will implement the opportunities identified. You will need to:
- Prepare an action plan addressing the risks identified during the ISO 45001 preparation process
- Provide timelines and steps for how your action plan will be implemented
- Provide information on how your action plan items will be assessed and improved upon going forward
How to successfully identify risks and opportunities for ISO 45001 certification
The easiest way to identify risks and opportunities in your business is to hire a specialist ISO 45001 consultant who has experience in your industry. They will know exactly what to look for and can make recommendations based on their previous experience in your sector.
At BusinessBasics we have experienced ISO 45001 consultants on hand with backgrounds in a wide range of sectors including mining, construction, wholesale, retail, manufacturing, civil construction, allied health and more. Get in touch today to start the ISO 45001 certification process.
Need help identifying WHS risks and opportunities in your business? Get in touch