How would you describe the difference between a risk and a hazard? The terms are often used interchangeably, but there are some distinct differences in meaning between the terms. A risk refers to a potential for hurt, danger, or loss within a particular situation, while a hazard refers to something that can cause hurt, danger or loss. So, risks are about possibilities, while hazards concern tangible, actual sources of danger. The distinction is important for business’, as the new workplace Occupational Health and Safety Standards have been released, and one of the ways that they distinguish themselves is through proactive risk management, as opposed to hazard control. What this means for companies is that by migrating to them they will adopt a more proactive approach to OH&S, by working to eliminate potential risks before they can impact operations, and thus, strengthening their entire business structure.
Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in public awareness of the importance of effective OH&S strategies within business’. Further, increased awareness of what constitutes an effective work health and safety strategy has resulted in business’ broadening their OH&S practices to be more inclusive towards all employees, and the potential concerns they have.
For example, it is now expected that companies provide both physically safe work environments, and strong mental support networks for staff. Due to changing ideas about what makes an effective OH&S Management System, business’ are now advised to develop their work health and safety practices from a preventative approach, rather than a reactive one. This means working to identify potential OH&S issues before they even occur, and taking protective, safeguarding measures to prevent them from impacting employees, or the overall operations.
To help business’ ensure that their work health and safety practices reflect changes in work safety laws, rules, and regulations, the International Organization for Standardization has released the internationally certified ISO 45001 OH&S Standards, which act as the go-to guide for organisations seeking to achieve regulatory compliance, provide a safe, supportive workplace, and reassure its staff, customers, and stakeholders that it is going above and beyond to provide a regulatory compliant, safe workspace for everyone. These standards are replacing the previous business OH&S guidelines, OHSAS 18001 and AS/NZS 4801, and companies that are certified to one of those standards have until September 2021 to migrate to the new Standards, in order to retain their regulatory compliance.
There is nothing risky about implementing these standards
The new standards provide a more holistic, employee-focused, approach to developing effective occupational health and safety strategies than the previous ones did, and offer many benefits to business’, including:
- A strong focus on both individual employee, and organisational, safety. In contrast to the previous guidelines, the ISO 45001 Standards focus on improving the health and well-being of individual employees within the company by minimising their exposure to potential risks. This differs from the previous standards, which utilised a reactive approach by working to mitigate the effects of existing hazards. In contrast, these standards work at minimising existing risks to prevent them from becoming a hazard in the first place, and thus, are much more conducive to the well-being of employees.
- Realising potential opportunities to improve the overall structure of the organisation by streamlining operations and reducing downtime, through the identification and mitigation of potential risks. By employing this proactive approach to OH&S, the business works at detecting weak points, OH&S threats, and potential issues, and then taking active steps to minimise their impact on operations. In this process, the business stands to improve their efficiency, streamline operations, and develop a stronger, more efficient business operations.
- The development of the most effective, strongest, business practices, and the increasing of employee morale. The ISO 45001 Standards work to the goal of keeping staff and the organisation safe from all potential workplace threats, and risks. Through the development of this safe, supportive work culture, the business stands to strengthen its overall structure, maximise productivity, and ensure its operations continue to work in the smoothest, least disruptive, manner possible.
- Enhancing, and upholding, the business’ reputation as a reputable, safe company to work for, and do business with. The implementation of these standards demonstrate that your business is working to ensure the safety of everyone on site, and that the business is a socially responsible, moral, company to work with. This kind of reassurance can open a lot of doors for business’, reduce downtime, and maximise retention rates.
The ISO 45001 OH&S Standards provide business’ with solutions to their problems. For organisations concerned about developing a nurturing, caring work environment, reassuring their staff about their physical and mental well-being, and demonstrating to the wider community that you have taken proactive measures to ensure that everyone who works for or with your business is safe, the ISO 45001 Standards is the answer to their problem.
By approaching the issue of creating effective OH&S practices in a proven successful, preventative manner, business’ are assured that by implementing them, they will gain the know-how to strengthen their operations and uphold their reputation.
If you have some queries about how these standards could be applied to your business in order to identify potential weak spots, safeguard against them, and improve staff, stakeholder and customer morale, then please give Anitech’s safety systems consultants a call today on 1300 802 163. By giving them an overview of your business structure, and the specific areas of concern you need to address, they will be able to explain to you how these standards could be applied across your organisation to help it achieve its work health and safety goals. Is there anything more low-risk than that?
Please click here to read more about how the ISO 45001 Standards helps your business to work safe, and its staff to stay safe.