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Transitioning to ISO 45001 requires strong “culture change innovators”, says industry expert

Friday, June 14, 2019

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Ahead of the Safety & Health Expo in London, Scottish Chamber of Safety Chair, Jane Murdoch, will ask peers to stand up and be counted during the transition to ISO 45001

A leading health and safety expert is encouraging global practitioners to become “culture change innovators” to help organisations make the transition to the new ISO 45001 standard.

Jane Murdoch (pictured below), Chair of Scottish Chamber of Safety (SCoS), is encouraging peers to change mindsets around health and safety in their place of work.

The term ‘culture’ appears for the first time in the new 45001 standard, launched in March 2018 but which has a three year transition period for businesses looking to comply.

Now Jane, a health and safety consultant for UK-based, global software firm Ideagen, will call for health and safety practitioners across the globe to take the reins in helping their businesses achieve and maintain compliance to the standard.

Jane, who became the first female Chair of SCoS when she was sworn in last year, will make the plea during her presentation at the upcoming Safety & Health Expo in London next week.

“Health and safety must move beyond being treated simply as a compliance issue,” said Jane. “It needs to become ingrained culturally within an organisation. This involves all levels of the organisation, including board and executive level as well as mid-management, supervisors, and workers, placing health and safety at the heart of everything.”

She continued: “It’s a significant development, and a real insight into where the standard is headed, that the word ‘culture’ appears within its clauses for the first time.

“Workplace culture refers to the way things are done including shared language and what is important to the managers and employees. However, rather than referring to the company’s specific safety policy and programme, the concept of safety culture is instead encapsulated by the mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours of workers, supervisors, managers, and owners towards occupational safety in the workplace.

“A positive safety culture is a vital part of a successful and effective health and safety programme. But what we need to see now – across the board – is health and safety practitioners becoming true culture change innovators to help change mindsets across their organisation.”

Jane is a well-known figure in the UK health and safety arena and has a wealth of experience both in the UK and globally. During her work for SCoS, she was involved in UK-wide strategies for health and safety, including playing an active part in many health initiatives.

ISO 45001 is the new, international health and safety standard which replaces OHSAS 18001. Organisations are approaching the first year of a three year transition period in the next few months.

The creation of the global ISO 45001 standard involved participants in more than 70 countries to become a truly globalised standard for health and safety. It replaces 24 different standards globally, including OHSAS 18001, which had its roots as a British standard first published in 1999.

Jane – who will present to delegates within the Safety Technology Zone at the Safety & Health Expo on ‘Thursday, June 20th’ next week, added: “One of the main changes within the standard is that it now demands commitment from senior management. Increased commitment from those in senior positions, forcing them to become actively engaged in the health and safety management system of their business, as well as actively contributing to it. The standard formalises managerial responsibility for health and safety in a way that OHSAS 18001 did not – and that can only be a positive thing to recognise accountability and responsibility for safety at the highest level of a business regardless of size.”

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