SVT Ltd has now achieved ISO 45001. I started this project back in January this year after gaining support from the Managing Director who gave me the go ahead and a budget of £2,000. The budget is important to note as it allowed me, as part of my role at SVT, to purchase a few reference books and approach QMS International for the process of Certification. There are also some annual auditing costs.
We employ 18 full time staff at SVT Ltd and have one office in the UK. Our activities are, for the most part, low risk however our Assessors are required to travel throughout the UK, Qatar and the UAE. After 18 years of business we have a robust safety management system. I visit approximately 65 Diploma candidates a year as part of my Lead Assessor role and get the opportunity to discuss, amongst other subjects, the candidates auditing and quality systems. These candidates are employed in a variety of sectors and in some cases their risks are complex both in terms of the workplace activities and the number of employees. As such I am not comparing my 45001 experience, to say a chemical processing site or the construction sector. My experience of implementing and gaining Certification for 45001 was relatively simple compared to companies of complex high-risk activities.
Firstly, there are good research materials out there readily available and free. I used the IOSH site, watched the videos and read through a lot of materials in readiness for implementing the standard. I then did a gap analysis of what was in place and what was needed. This was done alongside our ISO 9001 quality standard gained 12 years ago.
Regards to our H&S documentation I took the opportunity to review everything. I found that our lone working policy and safe system required further thought and our consultation arrangements needed some formal arrangements including formal records of meetings and a plan going forwarded. Our arrangements for dealing with contractors required some actions as did our communications between Learners and Assessors when visiting arrangements are made.
Having established the gaps and revising the policies and documentations I worked alongside our Operations Manager and arranged meetings with each department to explain the process of ISO 45001 and gain the support all involved. We then prepared the safety file which in this case we printed.
On the day of the visit of the Auditor from QMS we kept the whole day free for his audit. Be prepared for a comprehensive, thorough but supportive systematic audit of your health, safety and quality systems. The audit took 7 hours with each document assessed against the standard which was supported by questioning and clarification of our systems.
I am pleased to report that we had just one action required. Our health and safety policy statement required a paragraph with regards to measuring our performance. This action also required a section within the Arrangements and Responsibilities sections of the policy.
Certainly, for us at SVT Ltd the process of gaining this standard was relatively simple given that we have robust health and safety system in place and our policies and safe methods of working are well established. We have however learned from the work we did to gain ISO 45001 and going forward will of course continually improve. I am also part of an initiative by IOSH in terms of consultation with BSI-HSE on this subject and will share my experience with other SMEs.
Mike Watson CMIOSH finstLM FMCI Lead Assessor SVT Ltd
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