For workplace safety professionals, March 12 is a big date. On that date, the world will learn of a new global standard for safer workplaces that has been in development for five years and involved input from more than 75 countries across six continents.
The voluntary consensus standard — known as – ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems— is meant to provide a framework that companies can use to increase employee safety, reduce workplace risks and improve business outcomes worldwide.
The Switzerland-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) spearheaded the development process that began in 2013, with participation from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
“ISO 45001 is one of the most significant developments in workplace safety over the past 50 years, presenting an opportunity to move the needle on reducing occupational safety and health risks,” said Vic Toy, chair of the technical advisory group. “The goal was to create a widely accepted standard that can produce a highly effective safety and health management system for an increasingly interconnected world, regardless of an organization’s size, location, supply chains or nature of work.”
Advocates say the outcome over time will be safer and healthier workplaces around the world as companies adopt the standard to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
ASSE said it has taken initial steps to pursue adoption of ISO 45001 as an American national standard and is already creating training and professional development materials for occupational safety and health professionals.
The new global standard will be published on ASSE’s ISO 45001 web page.