ISO 45001 CONTEXT OF THE ORGANIZATION: PUTTING CLAUSE 4 INTO CONTEXT
Clause 4, Context of the Organization, is a cornerstone to the revisions that ISO 45001:2018 makes to the OHSAS 18001 standard. It includes two important sub-sections: “Understanding the organization and its context” and “Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties”.
THE ORGANIZATION AND ITS CONTEXT
Intended to drive a high-level understanding of issues that can impact an organization, the first part of the new clause requires you to consider all internal and external issues relevant to your Occupational Health & Safety Management System. This means that your organization must understand its occupational health and safety challenges and the risks inherent to its market segment.
Some examples of internal issues might be the organization’s governance and structure, or its strategy, culture, policies and objectives. You might also consider the services and products you provide: the internal issues and therefore the context of an organization selling printer toner will be vastly different from that of a media relations consultancy firm.
External factors could include legal and statutory requirements, cultural, regional and local issues, or market conditions. The regulatory environment in which you are operating, for example, will determine your baseline legal requirements and create a framework for organizational context. Regulations set out by governments, accrediting organizations, and industry/trade associations present major challenges for a safety management system, especially for multinational organizations.
THE NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS OF INTERESTED PARTIES
The second section of the clause stipulates that an understanding of the organization and its environment now also includes taking into account the needs and expectations of a variety of “interested parties”. This includes both internal and external stakeholders. The definition of internal stakeholders includes all workers—managerial and non-managerial and at all levels—along with their representatives, as well as suppliers and contractors. The definition of external interested parties extends from consumers, regulators, the media, shareholders and clients to the general public.
Clause 4 is crucial as it serves to help you understand and determine the scope and issues—both positive and negative—that can affect how your organization structures and runs its particular Occupational Health and Safety Management System.
MIGRATION TO ISO 45001:2018
From the publication of the standard (March 12, 2018), organizations already certified to OHSAS 18001 have three years to migration to ISO 45001 (until September 30, 2021). It will take most organizations around one year to migrate fully; and since ISO 45001 requires both senior management leadership and employee consultation, it is wise to begin as soon as possible.
Bureau Veritas is a world leader in certification. Building on our auditing and training experience, Bureau Veritas is providing a range of e-learning courses and IRCA trainings to support your organization in migration to ISO 45001 smoothly and with minimal fuss.