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Tops Benefits of HSE Integrated Management Systems for Organisations 

19/02/2024by admin0Read: 7 minutes

In today’s highly competitive market, companies are facing increasing pressure to demonstrate robust health, safety and environmental (HSE) performance. This heightened awareness has prompted many businesses to adopt three key ISO standards: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001. These standards, focusing on Quality Management System (QMS), Environmental Management System (EMS), and Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS) respectively, address vital aspects of organisational operations.

This blog is a descriptive piece on how businesses can benefit by implementing a robust HSE Integrated Management System comprising of ISO 9001, ISO 45001 and ISO 14001. We have also included challenges, steps and more to guide organisations.

Challenges of implementing an ISO 45001, 14001 and 9001 HSE Integrated Management System 

Implementing these standards simultaneously, albeit separately, can pose challenges. What may appear straightforward during the implementation of one standard can become complex when tackling multiple standards individually.

Hence, the intricacy of managing multiple standards underscores the importance of adopting a systematic and integrated approach to ensure seamless compliance and effectiveness in addressing organizational needs.

Also, with the recent updates to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001, a more strategic approach is emerging – the integration of these standards to form an Integrated Management System (IMS). This approach allows organisations to streamline their processes by consolidating standard requirements.

Why Businesses Should Develop an HSE Integrated Management System Comprising of ISO 45001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001?

Implementing three separate management systems not only triples the time and resources required for maintenance but also introduces redundancy in activities like internal audits and management reviews. This duplication extends to documentation, leading to an unnecessary proliferation of paperwork to support each management system.

In cases where different teams or groups handle the implementation of each standard, inconsistencies in logic or structural differences may arise. The shared documents and processes across standards might be established differently, further complicating an already intricate system. The presence of distinct management systems within a single company can easily transform into an organizational nightmare, posing a burden rather than a benefit to the business.

Contrastingly, adopting a unified Integrated Management System that aligns with the requirements of all standards streamlines maintenance and enhances coordination of activities. A comprehensive look at the standards reveals significant similarity in requirements, particularly with the recent alignment to Annex SL. The revision of these standards aimed to facilitate integration, evident in the commonality of clause numbers for shared requirements across all standards.

With the new versions adhering to the Annex SL structure, they are more compatible than ever before. This alignment ensures that identical requirements are consistently placed under the same clause numbers across all standards, simplifying integration efforts and promoting a harmonised approach to management system implementation.

These standards share  common clauses

Commencing the HSE Integration Management System Journey

The initiation of the implementation and integration process can vary based on your company’s specific circumstances. Your company might be venturing into implementing the standards for the first time, it may have already implemented one standard and is seeking to enhance the system by incorporating more, or it might have implemented the standards independently and is now aiming to consolidate them into a single IMS. Additional variables in this equation include whether an older version of a standard is in place or if a prior management system exists (e.g., transitioning from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001), potentially adding a transition element to the integration project.

It is crucial to ascertain the starting point and the current state of the management system while defining the desired outcomes. When feasible, simultaneous implementation of the standards is optimal, aligning with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle inherent in the standards. A company should initiate the process with the requirements for determining the context of the organization from all three standards and progress to the continual improvement clause.

Project Plan

Formulating a project plan Building such an intricate system necessitates a systematic approach. For a successful implementation and subsequent maintenance of your IMS, a well-structured project plan is essential. This plan should encompass precisely defined activities, allocated resources, assigned responsibilities, and specified deadlines. Such precision enables the company to discern what tasks need completion, the time required, the necessary resources, and the responsible parties.

A well-crafted plan facilitates integration and allows for the concurrent execution of certain tasks, thereby reducing the time needed for the implementation project.

Gap Analysis

The best approach is to initiate a gap analysis to identify which standard requirements are already met and what actions are needed for full compliance. Gap analysis results may reveal disparities between standard requirements and organisational practices, guiding specific implementation activities.

Implementation Activities 

Implementation activities may vary based on the organisation’s standardisation stage, including scenarios where:

  • Implementation is only necessary for the requirements of the new versions of the standards.
  • Integration of common requirements of already implemented standards is feasible.
  • Implementation of new standard(s) is necessary.
  • Transition of an already implemented standard is required.
  • Simultaneous implementation of all standards from the outset is necessary.

Irrespective of the case, integration presents a valuable opportunity to review existing systems and introduce improvements.

Defining the Scope of the Integrated Management System

To establish a solid foundation for the system, the company must initially delineate the scope of the management system by specifying the locations and processes it encompasses. While separate systems for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 allow for distinct scopes, in most cases, companies find it advantageous to have a unified scope. This scope typically spans the entire company, although it can be tailored to specific processes and locations.

All standards mandate documented scope definition, with ISO 9001 offering the flexibility for organisation to exclude specific standard requirements, provided it does not compromise product/service conformity, or customer satisfaction, and clear justifications are provided for any exclusions.

Seeking Common Ground

The subsequent step involves identifying common requirements across the three standards, a task encompassing a comprehensive list of shared elements. Primarily, clauses 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10 exhibit substantial similarities, with minor variations. Numerous shared requirements can be effectively addressed through a single process or document with slight adaptations.

Here is the comparison of the common clauses for your understanding

Clause 4: Context of the Organisation

The criteria remain consistent; ISO 9001 pertains to quality, ISO 14001 addresses environmental concerns, and ISO 45001 focuses on occupational health and safety.

Clause 5: Leadership

While the requirements of each standard are the same, the focus of policies is different.

Clause 6: Planning

Beyond the common obligation to address risks and opportunities in all standards, ISO 14001 introduces extra demands concerning environmental aspects and compliance obligations. Similarly, ISO 45001 includes additional requirements about occupational health and safety (OH&S) hazards and legal obligations. While the criteria for objectives align closely, ISO 9001 focuses on quality, ISO 14001 on the environment, and ISO 45001 on occupational health and safety.

Clause 7: Support

It has the same requirements for ISO 14001, 45001 and 9001.

Clause 8: Operation

Each standard mandates the establishment of operational controls for processes. ISO 9001 addresses processes related to providing products and services, whereas ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 add requirements specifically related to emergency preparedness and response.

Clause 9: Monitoring, Measurement and Analysis

The requirements are consistent, albeit viewed from different angles. ISO 9001 necessitates monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, whereas ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 mandate the evaluation of compliance with obligations.

Clause 10: Improvement

The requirements are similar for all three standards.

Policies

Quality, environmental, and health & safety policies’ requirements can be fulfilled by consolidating them into an integrated policy or maintaining separate policies. Crucially, these policies must align with standard requirements, suit the organization’s purpose and context, adhere to the strategic direction, furnish a framework for setting objectives, and commit to continuous improvement.

While the quality policy emphasises satisfying product and service requirements, the environmental policy focuses on environmental protection and compliance obligations, and the occupational health & safety policy targets hazard elimination, risk reduction, workplace injury prevention, and worker consultation. Communication of objectives adheres to uniform standards across all three.

Objectives for Improvement

Requirements for quality, environmental, and occupational health & safety objectives align closely, necessitating consistency with the organization’s policy, measurability, effective monitoring, communication, and periodic updates. Whether documented collectively or separately, consolidating objectives into a single document streamlines monitoring and review processes, enhancing resource management for planning actions.

Context of the Organisation

This clause in all ISO management system standards mandates organisations to identify internal and external issues relevant to the company’s purpose and strategic direction. This process, applicable to quality, environmental, and health & safety elements, should account for potential impacts on objectives and outcomes. If one standard is already implemented, expanding the scope of this process to cover all standards is imperative. Although not necessitate a documented procedure, organisations new to this process may find it beneficial to have one.

Understanding the Needs and Expectations of Interested Parties

This standard requirement entails assessing the interested parties within the organizational context, encompassing those relevant to product/service quality, customer satisfaction, environmental protection, compliance obligations, occupational health & safety performance, and associated obligations. The process must encompass needs and expectations related to the integrated management system, potentially turning them into compliance obligations.

Leadership and Commitment

Top management plays a pivotal role in demonstrating leadership and commitment by assuming accountability for the management system’s effectiveness, establishing policies, setting objectives, and ensuring compliance with clause 5.1 requirements. Without top management commitment, the integrity of the management systems may be compromised.

Risks and Opportunities

A new requirement across all standards, this clause aims to foster a proactive approach to the management system. While not mandating a formal methodology or documented procedure, organisation may find it useful to document elements that need consideration. The primary objective is to mitigate risks impacting organisational objectives and capitalise on opportunities.

Benefits of HSE Integrated Management System Comprising of ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001

Opting for a unified HSE integrated management system (IMS) over three distinct systems presents initial implementation challenges. However, the invested effort in this project yields long-term benefits, rendering the IMS more manageable. Some paramount advantages of embracing an integrated approach include:

1) Reduced Documentation Burden:

Streamlining documentation, the IMS minimises paperwork, promoting a more efficient and concise record-keeping system.

2) Enhanced Coordination of Activities and Resources:

The IMS ensures optimal resource allocation and coordination of activities, preventing duplication and fostering resource efficiency.

3) Comprehensive Employee Understanding:

Employees gain a holistic understanding of processes, fostering clarity and competence in their roles within the organization.

4) Streamlined Workflow without Redundancy:

An integrated workflow minimises task redundancies, preventing overlapping activities and promoting a more streamlined operational environment.

5) Systematised Information for Effective Management Review:

The IMS provides a systematic and consolidated information structure, facilitating more insightful and effective management reviews.

The crux of a successful integration project, or any implementation initiative, lies in a profound comprehension of the requirements. Achieving maximum impact with minimal resource engagement is pivotal to project success.

Apart from standing true to fulfilling the requirements to develop an HSE Integrated Management System, organisations should seek professional assistance from experienced HSE Consultants.

Consultants bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in implementing integrated management systems, and they are aware of the shortcomings that can prevent organisations from completely benefiting from the management system. A collaboration with these experts is like a double assurance to achieve a successful HSE Integrated Management System, and a higher chance to get ISO certified.

Anitech’s experienced consultants can help organisations that want to grow and cherish the benefits of an integrated management system.

Feel free to drop an enquiry at 1300 802 163 or e-mail – sales@anitechgroup.com

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