2018 Occupational health and safety management systems for healthcare

BS ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems. Requirements with guidance for use is the internationally recognized management system standard for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). It was created to address the need to provide a consistent global framework, focussed on proactive prevention of injury and ill-health whilst providing an environment that is safe and healthy.

With its focus on strategic risk management, contractor management, and looking after the mental wellbeing, as well as physical health of workersBS ISO 45001 provides an excellent framework to support hospitals and organizations within the healthcare sector.

Added to that, the enhanced focus on statutory and regulatory compliance and alignment to the ISO high-level structure makes BS ISO 45001 a perfect partner to quality, environmental, and information security management system standards.

Take for instance BS EN ISO 9001 Quality management systemsBS ISO 45001 is one-way organizations can demonstrate conformance to the personal safety aspects of clause 7.1.4 ‘Environment for the operation process’ but the relationship with BS EN ISO 9001 goes much further than that.

Effective occupational health and safety is a key component of corporate responsibility, whilst BS EN ISO 45001’s strong focus on legal and other requirements supports the regulatory focus within BS EN ISO 9001 requirements. Both standards also recognize the role human performance and error can have on the outcomes of the system and patient safety.

Finally, the requirement in BS ISO 45001 to align OH&S to the strategic direction of the business, driven by top management and to accelerate continual improvement, illustrates that the relationship between BS EN ISO 9001 and BS ISO 45001 goes well beyond a single clause.

Having complementary management systems allows organizations to anticipate, adapt and respond to the risks and opportunities created. This provides organizations, large and small, with the resilience and agility needed to thrive in global markets.

How Can BS ISO 45001 Benefit Your Organization?

A poor safety record can damage your business, affect employee morale and productivity, reduce revenue, and impact on quality of care and patients. It can tarnish your company’s brand and reputation–potentially to the point where it erodes patient trust for those you supply.

Added to that, organizations are now looking for ways to help them think beyond safety and accident prevention. Effective health management is a core part of BS ISO 45001, focussing on not just physical but mental and cognitive health too. BS ISO 45001 also encourages a more holistic approach, recognizing that linking with broader wellbeing initiatives can bring even greater benefits.

Being an employer who cares about the well-being of their employees is something that’s considered particularly important by millennials who have been brought up surrounded by messages of the importance of health and wellbeing and expect similar support from their employer. In a competitive sector such as healthcare, where there are recognized skills shortages, attracting the best young talent is vital, and BS ISO 45001 offers a framework to enhance your recruitment and retention strategy.

Proactively managing occupational health and safety in this way will help you better protect your people, brand, and business performance.

In your safety-critical industry, get everyone in your healthcare business involved in embedding a culture of health and safety. A BSI Knowledge subscription gives you instant access to the resources you need to improve your health and safety processes. The flexibility and visibility it provides of the best practices guidance enable you to get the most from your standards. Build your own custom collection of standards, or opt for access to our GBM07 Occupational & Personal Safety module and keep up-to-date with any relevant changes to your standards strategy. Request to learn more.

Health and Safety Innovation in Hospitals and Healthcare

Hospitals and other healthcare providers such as residential and care homes, have a duty to manage the safety of their patients and clients but also their workers. In fact, the effective duty of care of patient safety is directly linked to how well workers’ health, safety, and wellbeing are being looked after. The workforce is often large and diverse, covering surgeons and nurses, to porters and catering workers. Managing the needs of workers and what is often a vulnerable patient population, is often unique and complex. If it is not effectively managed, it can result in serious mental and physical harm to workers, patients, and others.

In human and financial terms, psychological ill-health is the costliest area of occupational health and safety (OH&S) yet few organizations have any in-house expertise in this area. Work-related stress is a major cause of sickness absence in hospitals and healthcare. Violence and aggression is an issue particularly for those who deal with patients with mental illness or conditions such as dementia. Front line workers such as paramedics and emergency workers are also at risk. Large caseloads, budgetary constraints, and a lack of resources are common stress factors in hospitals and healthcare.

Added to this are the working hours; shift work, overtime, and limited breaks, all give rise to fatigue. As well as stress for the workers, fatigue increases the risk of patient safety incidents, poor decision making around medication the risk to workers personal safety such as increased needlestick injuries through lack of concentration. BS ISO 45001 focuses on not just the physical but the mental wellbeing and cognitive health of workers through the identification of those social factors that can give rise to stress.

To further help organizations prioritize people by supporting the mental health of workersBS ISO 45003:2021 provides simple, practical guidance on how to manage the psychosocial hazards that arise in the work environment and that challenge health, safety, and well-being at work. It enables organizations to prevent the work-related injury and ill health of their workers and other interested parties, and to promote well-being at work. It covers the development, implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of healthy and safe workplaces.

Infection is a constant risk within hospitals and the healthcare sector and outbreaks such as the current Coronavirus adds extra strain. Maintaining a completely germ-free environment is impossible but having robust management processes in place is possible. BS ISO 45001 provides the framework needed, ensuring that the risk from infection is identified and that robust controls such as ‘safe zones’ are implemented, with a fully competent and empowered workforce.

What Am I Missing if I Don’t Implement BS ISO 45001?

By not implementing BS ISO 45001you are missing out on some important opportunities and benefits including:

  • Demonstrating commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Enhancing workplace health and wellbeing
  • Enhancing and protecting your organization’s reputation
  • And of course, providing a safe and healthy workplace free from injury and disease

For those organizations operating or trading internationally, working to BS ISO 45001 simplifies trade across boundaries; geographic, political, economic, commercial, or social. Simplification and standardization can give you that competitive edge in the market.

To experience the benefits of having occupational health and safety, add standards BS ISO 45001 and BS ISO 45003 to your collection today.