More than fifty Irish companies, including a Dublin-headquartered construction firm and a Limerick consultancy service, will be among the first organisations in the world to achieve certification to a major new global health and safety standard, which sets the minimum standard of practice to protect employees worldwide.
Launched by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety gives organisations a framework to increase safety, reduce workplace risks and enhance health and well-being at work.
“This much-anticipated standard was developed over several months with the input of experts from more than 70 countries,” said NSAI Chief Executive, Geraldine Larkin.
“ISO 45001 is set to transform workplace practices globally and I am extremely proud that NSAI is able to offer it to Irish businesses from day one,” she added.
Health and safety in the workplace is the number one concern of most businesses, yet still deaths and injuries occur. According to the Health and Safety Authority, 501 people have died in workplace accidents in Ireland since 2008, with 47 deaths in 2017 alone. Almost half of all deaths occurred in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors.
“Globally, more than 2.78 million fatal accidents occur at work yearly, with some 374 million incidents of non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses,” said NSAI’s Head of Business Excellence, Fergal O’Byrne.
“This paints a sober picture of the modern workplace – one where workers can suffer serious consequences as a result of simply doing their job. The beauty of ISO 45001 is that it’s applicable to all organisations, regardless of size, industry or nature of business. I would encourage Irish organisations to find out more from NSAI.” said O’Byrne.
Among the first companies in the world to achieve certification to ISO 45001 will be Collen Construction. The family-owned company was established in 1810, and provides commercial, residential, industrial, design and building services across multiple sectors. Collen Construction maintains that ISO 45001 certification will help position it for further expansion.
“Collen Construction is well-placed for growth, and we want to ensure our systems both in Ireland and Europe are best in class. As safety is an integral part of the company’s daily operations, we recognise the importance of continuous improvement,” said Collen Construction Managing Director, Tommy Drumm.
“The implementation of the new ISO 45001 aligns with our objective to ensure our systems are world-class and accreditation to the first international safety standard would recognise Collen as leaders in achieving an international benchmark,” he added.
Other Irish companies in the process of adopting ISO 45001 are:
ISO 45001 is designed to be integrated into an organisation’s existing management processes and follows the same high-level structure as other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management), which are used by more than 3,000 companies in Ireland today.
Developed under the ISO system, ISO 45001 provides an international framework that takes into account the interaction between an organization and its business environment. Key potential benefits from use of the standard include a reduction of workplace incidents, reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, reduced cost of insurance premiums, the creation of a health and safety culture, reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve Occupational Health and Safety performance, enhanced reputation and improved staff morale.