Find out how one company became ISO 45001 compliant

This article was also published in ISHN magazine.

Released as the new safety standard in early 2018, ISO 45001 comes with range of EHS benefits. But how do companies become ISO 45001 certified?

Introduced in March 2018, ISO 45001 became the new international standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.

It uses the structure defined by Annex SL, a management system aligning new standards. Plus, it has a close affiliation with other international standards for Quality and Security.

By now, OHS professionals know the benefits. In EHS circles, the new standard is regarded as an overhaul of traditional management, and a move towards a more “human” approach.

In November 2018, Peterson, a leading energy logistics supplier, was one of the first companies to achieve the standard.

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As a result, Peterson unified their multiple global sites in their safety approach, lifting the firm’s reputation with customers and employees. Furthermore, workers took an active role in health and safety, reducing lost time and costs.

Peterson employed Pro-Sapien during their ISO 45001 certification process - an EHS software solution deployed on SharePoint and Office 365. Moreover, Pro-Sapien and Peterson partnered in 2014 – seeing the latter through several EHS certifications.

To help organizations on their ISO 450001 journey, we asked Lauren Gosling, Quality Advisor at Peterson in Aberdeen, UK, about how they became ISO 45001 certified.

What steps did you take to become ISO 45001 certified?

“At Peterson, we strive to achieve excellence, therefore, from OHSAS 18001:2007, becoming ISO 45001 certified was a natural progression."

“Firstly, our certification provider provided a gap analysis tool. As a result, we understood the differences between the two standards, and identified improvement opportunities.”

“Importantly, ISO 45001 certification was a team effort. We worked with key region employees - UK, Netherlands and Trinidad - ensuring successful continuity and support."

How long did the process take all in all?

“Approximately six months. Our Netherlands site achieved certification in May 2018. Now, all global operations across all sites are ISO 45001 certified with the multi-site certificate.”

What was the easiest part?

"Many requirements were already in place: ISO 9001:2015 and 14001:2015, Annex SL, and a mature Business Management System.”

What was the most difficult?

“Finding solutions. We appeased multiple auditors for the many regions and certification providers. However, achieving continuity and an improved work system satisfied standard and regional needs."

How did it feel when Peterson achieved the standard?

“We felt immensely proud knowing Peterson was one of the first companies achieving the certification. We hope our customers and suppliers recognise our hard work and approach us for advice and collaborative thinking on safety performance.”

What are the benefits you realized as a result?

“We recognize the many benefits of all our certified standards (9001, 14001, 50001, 45001, and soon to be 27001). Above all, a structured management system supports organizational consistency; satisfies customer needs; facilitates and promotes continual improvement; and ultimately provides a safe system of work.”

“These certificates promote workers to take an active role in health and safety. In turn, reducing lost time due to accidents or ill health, and creating a better working environment.”

What are your top tips for achieving ISO 45001 certification?

“The ISO 45001 standard is adaptable to any size, maturity and nature of business. A great place to start is understanding the ISO 45001 principles, regardless of whether you are achieving certification or simply improving an existing management system.”

“Importantly, the ISO requirements greatly support reviewing processes efficiency in these increasingly difficult market conditions.”

What are Peterson’s 2019 safety goals?

“Committing to the Target Zero vision. We will achieve this with a robust management system, a continued commitment to staff training, and maintaining relationships with industry working groups to share safety knowledge and best practices.”

“Alongside this latest accreditation, Peterson strives towards enhanced safety procedures. For example, we won several industry safety awards with our innovative use of smart technology - we use data to identify patterns of compromised safety, allowing us to manage safety both predictably and proactively.”

Almost a year after publication, more and more organizations are achieving ISO 45001 certification. Demonstrating your commitment to the standard, as we heard from Lauren, advocates process efficiency.

In conclusion, whether or you’re certified or not, a pragmatic approach to EHS management systems is best. Certainly, EHS software is a pillar of many EHS management systems, so now is a good time to ensure flexibility, accessibility and configurability, before the next standard is published!

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A University of the West of Scotland graduate with a BA in Journalism, Holly joined the marketing department in 2018 and brings a wide range of experience to the team. Outside of business, Holly enjoys cycling, cooking and yoga. As the Digital Marketing Executive, Holly coordinates Pro-Sapien's social outreach and blog content, and can be reached at holly.callender@pro-sapien.com.