Occupational health and safety management according to ISO 45001 supports companies in the Corona crisis / Management systems create the basis for faster and more systematic action / Better protection for employees

With a systematic management of occupational health and safety, companies are better prepared for the challenges of the Corona pandemic. The standard for occupational health and safety management – ISO 45001 – leads to a faster and more systematic approach when it comes to safety and health at work during the Corona crisis. This means employees, customers, contractors and other visitors will be better protected. “ISO 45001 was not developed for the Corona pandemic. But it creates an excellent basis for dealing with the crisis,” says Anja Oels, responsible for ISO 45001 at TÜV Rheinland.

Training and communication mandatory

For a management system according to ISO 45001, companies must, for example, have sufficient resources as well as trained employees and a good communication flow. “This is enormously valuable in the pandemic,” says Oels. “Targeted training on pandemic-relevant topics and the communication of measures can be realized faster and more efficiently if appropriate communication tools and processes as well as trained staff are already in place.” In addition, ISO 45001 also regulates the communication of occupational safety issues with contractors, visitors and other interested parties – indispensable for preventive action during the Corona crisis.

Furthermore, ISO 45001 requires companies to address their environment in terms of safety and health issues. They are required to define which interested parties are relevant in occupational safety issues – such as authorities, employees representatives or subcontractors. In this way, companies that have implemented a management system in accordance with ISO 45001 already regularly exchange information with these parties and can follow up seamlessly in exceptional cases.

Managers have responsibility for health protection

ISO 45001 also requires that top management must be both involved in and responsible for employees’ health protection. “Management commitment is crucial in this crisis situation,” says Anja Oels. “Management is called upon to ensure the health of the employees and at the same time to secure the economic continuity of the company. An established management system has already made them aware of their own responsibility.”

The standard for occupational health and safety also places great emphasis on employees’ participation. Therefore, appropriate mechanisms of participation in occupational safety issues exist in the company. These mechanisms help companies in the pandemic to quickly take measures that are supported by their employees. In addition, by introducing ISO 45001, it is precisely defined who is responsible for which occupational safety tasks. “This enables a rapid response without lengthy wrangling over competencies,” says Oels.

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