Operational Control in ISO 45001: Implementation Strategies 

26/10/2023by admin0Read: 4 minutes

ISO 45001 operational control requires organisations to establish and implement processes to enhance occupational health and safety. Establishing operational controls requires a systematic approach to identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks, as well as ongoing monitoring and improvement efforts. It should be integrated into an organisation’s overall health and safety management system to promote a culture of safety and ensure that safety measures are consistently applied at all operational levels.

In this blog, we have explored the implementation strategies for effective operational control in ISO 45001.

ISO 45001 Operational Control 

Operational control, as defined by ISO 45001, entails a meticulous approach to enhance occupational health and safety. This encompasses the development of procedures and work systems, validation of worker competence, execution of proactive maintenance and inspection regimens, stipulation of procurement prerequisites, alignment with legal and supplementary requirements, the utilisation of engineering and administrative controls, and the customisation of work to accommodate workers.

The ultimate objective is to either eliminate hazards or diminish OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety) risks to a level that is reasonably practicable for operational areas and activities. This pursuit adheres to the hierarchy of controls, which systematically addresses hazard elimination and risk reduction, with each control progressively less effective than its predecessor.

Implementation Strategies for ISO 45001 Operational Control

ISO 45001 operational control encompasses the following implementation strategies:

1) General Operational Planning and Control

Efficient operational planning and control within ISO 45001 plays a pivotal role in elevating occupational health and safety standards. It entails the creation and execution of processes designed to either eliminate hazards or minimise OH&S risks to an acceptable level. This is made feasible by developing procedures and operational systems, assuring worker proficiency, launching proactive maintenance regimens, and stipulating precise procurement prerequisites for both goods and services.

2) Eliminating Hazards and Reducing OH&S Risks

ISO 45001 places a strong emphasis on the eradication of hazards and the mitigation of OH&S risks through a structured hierarchy of controls. This hierarchy encompasses various measures, starting with the complete removal of the hazard, followed by substitution with less risky processes or materials, the utilisation of engineering controls, work process reorganisation, the implementation of administrative controls involving comprehensive training, and the provision of suitable personal protective equipment.

To uphold OH&S performance, organisations are required to create a meticulous process for handling planned changes. This process should involve a thorough evaluation of the ramifications of unforeseen changes and the prompt execution of corrective actions to alleviate any adverse effects.

3) Management of Change

ISO 45001 mandates that organisations put in place a structured process for handling planned change, whether they are temporary or permanent, that could influence their OH&S performance. These changes encompass the introduction of new products, services, and processes, modifications to legal and other prerequisites, shifts in the comprehension of hazards and OH&S risks, and advancements in knowledge and technology.

It is incumbent upon the organisation to thoroughly assess the unintended repercussions of these changes and adopt remedial measures to avert any detrimental impacts. This framework ensures that OH&S performance remains aligned with the organisation’s objectives and the safety and well-being of its personnel.

Thus engaging OH&S management is vital to the successful implementation of ISO 45001 Operational Control measures.

4) Procurement Control

ISO 45001 mandates that organisations implement a stringent process for overseeing the procurement of products and services, guaranteeing their alignment with the OH&S management system. This encompasses a collaborative approach with contractors, involving the identification of hazards and the comprehensive evaluation and management of OH&S risks associated with their activities.

This process further entails diligent consideration of legal prerequisites, manufacturer recommendations, the utilisation of engineering and administrative controls, and the customisation of work practices to accommodate workers through ergonomic measures.

5) Creating and Updating Documented Information

When creating and updating documented information, organisations should ensure appropriate identification, description, format, and media. Documented information required by the OH&S management system should be controlled to ensure its availability, suitability, and protection. This includes addressing activities such as distribution, access, retrieval, storage, preservation, control of changes, retention, and disposition. Access to relevant documented information should be provided to workers and workers’ representatives.

 6) Operational Planning and Control

Operational planning and control under ISO 45001 encompass the strategic management of processes to align with OH&S system requisites. This comprises formulating process criteria, enforcing control congruent with the criteria, and sustaining documented records to ensure streamlined execution. This practice extends to upholding compliance with legal and additional obligations.

7) Ensuring Compliance with Legal and Other Requirements

To uphold compliance with legal and additional requirements within its OH&S management system, an organisation must undertake specific measures. These actions encompass:

1) Identification of Legal Requirements:

The organisation is tasked with recognising and comprehending the array of legal prerequisites necessitating adherence, encompassing legislative mandates, decrees, official orders, permits, and other forms of authorisation.

2) Documentation of Legal Requirements:

The organisation should meticulously maintain and archive documented information regarding its legal requirements, ensuring this data remains current and reflects any revisions.

3) Addressing Risks and Opportunities:

Legal and supplementary requirements can present both risks and opportunities for the organisation. As part of its OH&S management system, the organisation should strategically plan actions to mitigate these risks and capitalise on the opportunities.

4) Monitoring and Evaluation:

The organisation is obligated to diligently monitor and assess its adherence to legal requirements. This encompasses verifying whether all legal prerequisites have been duly identified and whether the organisation’s documented information remains updated.

5) Integration with Core Business Processes:

It is vital to seamlessly integrate compliance with legal and supplementary requirements into the organisation’s core business processes. This includes amalgamation with procedures related to environmental management, quality management, and overall risk management.

Tips for implementing ISO 45001 Operational Control Strategies

Here are our expert tips for implementing ISO 45001 Operational Control strategies:

1) Hierarchy of Controls:

Exercising hierarchy of controls when considering elimination of hazards in the workplace.

2) Procedures and Systematic Work Methods:

Establish and enforce precise procedures and systematic work methods to ensure that operational activities are executed in a secure and health-conscious manner. This may involve the development of standard operating procedures, detailed work instructions, and comprehensive job safety analyses.

3) Competency Assurance for Workers:

Guarantee that all workers possess the requisite skills, knowledge, and training to carry out their duties safely. This can be achieved through rigorous training programs, periodic competency assessments, and ongoing opportunities for professional development.

4) Preventive and Predictive Maintenance along with Inspection Programs:

Implement routine maintenance and inspection programs to systematically identify and mitigate potential hazards and risks. Such programs may entail regular equipment inspections, preventive maintenance schedules, and condition monitoring to proactively address issues.

5) Strategic Procurement Specifications:

Develop stringent specifications for procuring goods and services that place occupational health and safety at the forefront. This includes setting requirements for safe design, adherence to pertinent regulations, and the engagement of certified suppliers.

Through the integration of these strategic measures, organisations can strengthen their operational planning and control processes to effectively manage occupational health and safety risks. This not only ensures a secure working environment but also safeguards the well-being of the workforce.

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