Safer Environments

How ISO 45001 can help manage COVID-19 risks

We want to assure all our clients that QMS remains open for business and will continue operating, using proven and innovative technologies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adam McDean

COVID-19 (the disease caused by Coronavirus) has swept across the globe, triggering international lock-downs, travel bans, restrictions, and changes to how businesses operate based on essential and non-essential services.

Most of us have never seen a pandemic like this before and we hope never to see a pandemic like it again. Now, however, business owners and team members alike need to know how to keep themselves safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

According to the International Labour Organization, more than 7,600 people die from work-related accidents or diseases every day. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s now more important than ever to become ISO 45001 certified and implement an effective safety management system to keep your team safe no matter what happens.

Below, we outline all the ways ISO 45001 can help manage your team’s health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can fill health and safety gaps you never knew existed

To become ISO 45001 certified, you must complete an analysis of your business from top to bottom and identify any existing gaps in competence, resources, or safety measures. These gaps will need to be filled before your business can become ISO 45001 certified.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to remember that no one is ever fully prepared for a global pandemic. You’re bound to find a few new gaps.

For example, you may have noticed a need for further staff training in cleanliness or disease control, a requirement for face masks and gloves to be available on-site (regardless of your industry), or best practice guidelines for team members working off-site.

If you’re concerned about ISO 45001 certification and keeping your team members safe during this unprecedented time, don’t panic – there are professional assessors available to help review your business and identify these gaps so you can make the necessary changes to improve your team’s safety.

At QMS, it’s still business as usual – in fact, we’re more committed than ever to improving and adapting the certification process to manage pandemic events like COVID-19. Our team can assess your business’ management system responses to COVID-19 at the strategic, operational, and frontline levels, so you can adjust your business continuity plans for the short, medium, and long term.

This is a golden opportunity to adapt and improve your business on a new level. Give us a call to learn more about our services during COVID-19.

You can help take care of your employees’ health and wellbeing with a safety management system

Your number one priority during the COVID-19 outbreak should be your employees’ health and wellbeing – whether it’s through counselling, a higher level of cleanliness in the workplace, or even providing further training in disease prevention and control.

With ISO 45001 certification, you will have implemented safety training for your team members, leading to higher staff morale and confidence on-site, fewer workplace accidents, and reduced absenteeism or turnover due to injuries or illness.

Effectively, you’ll be keeping team members safe from harm and keeping productivity high at the same time.

By committing to ISO 45001, you can create a culture of health and safety where employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own OHS while also feeling cared for and supported by the business as a whole.

Future ISO 45003 certification will cover psychological health

There are a lot of moving parts which could cause stress and anxiety for your employees during the COVID-19 lock-down.

For example, depending on your industry, your business could be busier than ever before causing high levels of stress or team members burning out – or at the other end of the scale, things might be quiet and team members could be facing the risk of reduced hours or even lay-offs.

Alongside stressors at home and enforced self-isolation outside of work, your employees need psychological support during COVID-19, too.

The good news? According to the official ISO website, ISO 45001 is evolving in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and ISO 45003 is under development – a set of standards and requirements covering psychological health and safety risks within an OHS management system.

ISO 45003, Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Guidelines, will address many areas of your business which could impact an employee’s mental health like ineffective communication, excessive pressure, poor leadership, and organisational culture.

ISO 45003 will help your workplace become a much healthier and positive environment, cultivating strong mental health for all team members.

While ISO 45003 isn’t due to be released until 2021, there are a few things you can do to support your team members in the meantime:

  • Be flexible and compassionate. Your employees may have children who can’t go to school, or older relatives who need assistance/care during the pandemic. Your employees’ schedules are changing, so try to be open-minded and flexible where possible.
  • Connect with your team. If your team is working remotely, make sure to tee up informal meetings every morning, once a week, or even once a fortnight like Friday drinks or a morning coffee. Keep connected and keep communication lines open. If you’re all working together on-site, have these meetings in person.
  • Make sure to check in on a personal level. Book meetings every now and then with your employees to check-in on how they’re coping amid the COVID-19 lock-down. If they’re struggling with loneliness, anxiety, or depression, see what you can do to get them some counselling or support.

Consider COVID-19 an opportunity to support your team and improve the OHS of your business

We’re living in an unprecedented time – there would be very few businesses truly prepared to respond to this pandemic. Now is the time to learn from it, adapt, and improve your business through ISO 45001 certification.

The professional team of assessors at QMS can take a closer look at your business, complete an in-depth analysis of your existing OHS systems, and provide a gap analysis for your team to identify areas of improvement.

We are committed to adapting our services to assist our clients – and we can help make a difference for your team’s safety.

Get in touch with the team from QMS regarding ISO 45001 and refining your safety practices amid COVID-19. We’re here to help.

Ready for QMS to help you take the lead?