The organization shall continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the OH&S management system, by:
a) enhancing OH&S performance;
b) promoting a culture that supports an OH&S management system;
c) promoting the participation of workers in implementing actions for the continual improvement of the OH&S management system;
d) communicating the relevant results of continual improvement to workers, and, where they exist, workers’ representatives;
e) maintaining and retaining documented information as evidence of continual improvement.
As per Annex A (Guidance on the use of ISO 45001:2018 standard) of ISO 45001:2018 standard it further explains
Examples of continual improvement issues include, but are not limited to:
- new technology;
- good practices, both internal and external to the organization;
- suggestions and recommendations from interested parties;
- new knowledge and understanding of occupational health and safety-related issues;
- new or improved materials;
- changes in worker capabilities or competence;
- achieving improved performance with fewer resources (i.e. simplification, streamlining, etc.).
The organization shall continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the OH&S management system
Continual improvement is a fundamental principle of an effective Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system, as outlined in ISO 45001:2018. It involves ongoing efforts to enhance the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the system. Here are key steps and approaches for organizations to continually improve their OH&S management system:
- Commitment from Top Management: Top management should demonstrate a strong commitment to continual improvement by allocating resources, setting clear objectives, and actively participating in the process.
- Establishing Objectives and Targets: Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives and targets related to OH&S performance and improvement.
- Regular Monitoring and Measurement: Continuously monitor and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and OH&S metrics to assess the current state of the OH&S management system.
- Incident Analysis: Conduct thorough investigations and root cause analyses of incidents, near-misses, nonconformities, and accidents to identify areas for improvement.
- Worker Involvement: Involve workers at all levels in identifying safety issues, providing feedback, and contributing to improvement initiatives. Workers often have valuable insights into workplace safety.
- Risk Assessment and Management: Regularly review and update risk assessments to identify emerging hazards and risks. Adjust control measures and preventive actions accordingly.
- Audits and Inspections: Conduct internal audits and inspections to identify gaps, weaknesses, or nonconformities within the OH&S management system.
- Management Reviews: Regularly review the OH&S management system at planned intervals (as required by ISO 45001) to assess its effectiveness and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Benchmarking: Compare your organization’s OH&S performance with industry benchmarks and best practices to identify areas where improvements can be made.
- Feedback and Suggestions: Encourage employees, contractors, and stakeholders to provide feedback, suggestions, and improvement ideas related to safety and health.
- Training and Awareness: Provide training and awareness programs to educate employees about safety practices, procedures, and the importance of continual improvement.
- Documentation and Records: Maintain clear and comprehensive records of all improvement initiatives, actions taken, and their outcomes.
- Corrective and Preventive Actions: Implement corrective actions to address immediate issues and preventive actions to mitigate potential future risks.
- Communication: Ensure effective communication of improvement goals, progress, and results to all relevant parties within the organization.
- Review and Adjust: Regularly review the effectiveness of improvement initiatives and adjust strategies and action plans as needed.
- Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate successes and milestones related to OH&S improvement to motivate and engage employees.
- Leadership and Culture: Foster a culture of safety and continual improvement from top to bottom within the organization. Leadership should set the example.
- External Input: Consider external factors, such as changes in regulations, industry standards, and technological advancements, when planning improvements.
By consistently applying these principles and practices, organizations can create a culture of safety and continual improvement, leading to enhanced OH&S performance, reduced incidents, and a safer workplace for all.
2) Enhancing OH&S performance
Enhancing Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) performance is a critical goal for organizations committed to the well-being of their employees and stakeholders. To achieve this objective, organizations can adopt various strategies and initiatives aimed at continuously improving their OH&S performance. Here are some key approaches and actions to enhance OH&S performance:
- Commitment from Top Management: Demonstrate strong leadership and commitment to OH&S by setting clear objectives and expectations for performance improvement.
- Establish Clear OH&S Policies and Objectives: Develop and communicate an OH&S policy that reflects the organization’s commitment to safety and outlines its objectives and targets for improvement.
- Risk Assessment and Hazard Identification: Regularly assess and identify workplace hazards and risks, and implement control measures to mitigate them.
- Worker Involvement: Engage workers at all levels in safety initiatives, encourage them to report hazards, and involve them in safety committees and decision-making processes.
- Training and Awareness: Provide ongoing training and awareness programs to ensure that all employees are knowledgeable about safety practices and procedures.
- Incident Reporting and Investigation: Establish a robust incident reporting and investigation process to identify root causes and implement corrective actions to prevent recurrence.
- Emergency Preparedness and Response: Develop and regularly test emergency response plans to ensure readiness in case of accidents or emergencies.
- Performance Monitoring and Measurement: Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and safety metrics to track progress toward OH&S objectives and targets.
- Internal Audits and Inspections: Conduct regular internal audits and inspections to identify nonconformities and opportunities for improvement.
- Corrective and Preventive Actions: Implement corrective actions to address immediate issues and preventive actions to proactively mitigate risks.
- Management Review: Hold regular management reviews of the OH&S management system to assess its effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.
- Continuous Improvement Culture: Foster a culture of continual improvement in which employees are encouraged to suggest and implement safety enhancements.
- Supplier and Contractor Management: Ensure that suppliers and contractors adhere to safety standards and practices that align with the organization’s OH&S objectives.
- Regulatory Compliance: Stay informed about and comply with applicable OH&S regulations, standards, and legal requirements.
- Performance Benchmarking: Compare OH&S performance with industry benchmarks and best practices to identify areas for improvement.
- Communication and Reporting: Communicate OH&S performance to all relevant stakeholders, including employees, management, regulators, and the public, as appropriate.
- Innovation and Technology: Embrace innovative technologies and best practices to improve safety and health in the workplace.
- Feedback and Lessons Learned: Encourage feedback and regularly review lessons learned from incidents, near-misses, and improvement initiatives.
- External Engagement: Collaborate with industry peers, associations, and regulatory bodies to gain insights and share best practices.
- Recognition and Awards: Recognize and reward individuals or teams that contribute to safety improvements and celebrate achievements.
Enhancing OH&S performance requires a proactive, multifaceted approach that involves all levels of the organization. It should be an ongoing commitment, with continuous monitoring and evaluation of progress and the incorporation of lessons learned into future safety initiatives. Prioritizing OH&S performance not only ensures compliance with regulations but also contributes to a safer, more productive, and sustainable work environment.
3) Promoting a culture that supports an OH&S management system
Promoting a culture that supports an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system for continual improvement is essential for creating a safe and healthy work environment. This culture encourages employees at all levels to actively engage in safety initiatives, report hazards, and contribute to ongoing improvement efforts. Here are key steps to promote such a culture:
- Leadership Commitment: Top management should demonstrate a strong commitment to OH&S and continually improving safety performance. Their commitment sets the tone for the entire organization.
- Clear OH&S Policy: Develop and communicate a clear OH&S policy that emphasizes the organization’s commitment to safety and continual improvement. Ensure that all employees are aware of the policy.
- OH&S Objectives and Targets: Set specific OH&S objectives and targets that align with the organization’s safety goals. These objectives should be measurable and communicated throughout the organization.
- Worker Involvement: Involve workers at all levels in OH&S initiatives. Encourage them to actively participate in safety committees, provide input, and report hazards or unsafe conditions.
- Training and Awareness: Provide comprehensive OH&S training to all employees. Ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining a safe workplace.
- Communication: Foster open and transparent communication channels for reporting incidents, near-misses, and safety concerns. Encourage two-way communication between employees and management.
- Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and reward individuals or teams that contribute to safety improvements or achieve safety milestones. Publicly acknowledge their efforts to promote a safety culture.
- Safety Committees: Establish safety committees that include representatives from various departments and levels of the organization. These committees can review safety issues and recommend improvements.
- Incident Reporting and Investigation: Implement a robust incident reporting and investigation process. Ensure that all incidents, no matter how minor, are reported and thoroughly investigated.
- Regular Audits and Inspections: Conduct regular internal audits and inspections to identify safety deficiencies and nonconformities. Use the findings to drive corrective actions and improvements.
- Corrective and Preventive Actions: Encourage employees to proactively identify hazards and suggest corrective and preventive actions. Ensure that these actions are documented and implemented.
- Continuous Improvement: Promote a mindset of continuous improvement, where employees are encouraged to seek better ways of doing things and to question existing practices if they identify safer alternatives.
- Training and Development: Invest in the professional development of employees, including training related to OH&S practices, leadership, and safety skills.
- Safety Reporting Systems: Implement user-friendly systems for reporting safety concerns and tracking the progress of corrective actions. Ensure that employees have easy access to these systems.
- Regular Review and Feedback: Hold regular safety meetings to discuss safety performance, review incident trends, and gather feedback from employees about safety issues and improvement ideas.
- Document and Communicate Successes: Document and communicate the positive results of safety initiatives and continual improvement efforts to inspire others and reinforce the importance of safety.
- External Engagement: Collaborate with industry peers, safety associations, and regulatory agencies to gain insights, share best practices, and stay up-to-date with the latest safety developments.
- Crisis and Emergency Preparedness: Ensure that employees are well-prepared for emergencies through regular drills and training exercises.
- Safety Culture Surveys: Periodically conduct safety culture surveys to assess the organization’s safety culture and identify areas that require improvement.
Promoting a safety culture for continual improvement is an ongoing process that requires dedication and active involvement from all levels of the organization. By fostering a culture where safety is a top priority, organizations can create safer workplaces and reduce the risk of incidents, leading to improved overall performance and employee well-being.
4) promoting the participation of workers in implementing actions for the continual improvement of the OH&S management system
Promoting the active participation of workers in implementing actions for the continual improvement of the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system is a key element of a successful safety culture. Workers are often the ones who are most familiar with the day-to-day operations and potential hazards in the workplace, making their involvement essential for identifying, implementing, and sustaining improvements. Here’s how organizations can promote worker participation in this process:
- Engage Workers in Safety Committees: Establish safety committees that include representatives from various departments and job roles. These committees should meet regularly to discuss safety issues, review incident reports, and suggest improvements.
- Encourage Reporting of Safety Concerns: Create a culture where workers are encouraged to report safety concerns, near-misses, and hazards without fear of retaliation. Ensure that reporting processes are user-friendly and accessible.
- Employee Training and Awareness: Provide comprehensive training to employees on OH&S practices and the importance of continual improvement. Ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining a safe workplace.
- Feedback Mechanisms: Implement feedback mechanisms, such as suggestion boxes or online platforms, where employees can submit safety improvement ideas. Acknowledge and respond to these suggestions promptly.
- Participatory Risk Assessments: Involve workers in conducting risk assessments and hazard identification. Their input is valuable in identifying workplace risks and effective control measures.
- Safety Inspections and Audits: Encourage workers to participate in safety inspections and internal audits. They can help identify nonconformities and suggest corrective actions.
- Incident Investigation Teams: Appoint workers to participate in incident investigation teams. Their perspectives can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of incidents and the identification of root causes.
- Training and Skill Development: Provide workers with the necessary training and skills to actively participate in safety improvement activities, such as root cause analysis or process improvement initiatives.
- Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and reward workers who actively contribute to safety improvements. Publicly acknowledge their efforts to motivate others to get involved.
- Communication: Foster open and transparent communication channels between workers and management. Ensure that workers have a platform to voice their concerns, suggestions, and feedback.
- Inclusive Decision-Making: Involve workers in decision-making processes related to safety improvements, including the selection of control measures and the implementation of changes.
- Training on Reporting and Investigation: Train workers on how to effectively report incidents and near-misses, as well as how to participate in incident investigations.
- Sharing Best Practices: Encourage workers to share best practices and success stories related to safety improvement. Learning from peers can be highly motivating.
- Regular Safety Meetings: Hold regular safety meetings where workers can discuss safety performance, review safety goals, and provide input on safety improvement strategies.
- Training on Improvement Tools: Provide training on improvement tools and methodologies, such as Lean Six Sigma or the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, to empower workers to actively engage in improvement projects.
- Measurement and Tracking: Establish performance metrics to measure worker participation in safety improvement activities and track their contributions.
- Feedback Loops: Establish feedback loops to ensure that workers receive information about the outcomes of their suggestions and contributions.
By actively involving workers in the continual improvement of the OH&S management system, organizations can tap into their expertise, commitment, and on-the-ground knowledge, leading to a safer and more proactive safety culture. This approach not only enhances workplace safety but also contributes to overall organizational excellence.
5) Communicating the relevant results of continual improvement to workers, and, where they exist, workers’ representatives.
Effective communication of the relevant results of continual improvement to workers and their representatives is crucial for maintaining transparency, fostering trust, and ensuring that everyone in the organization is informed about safety-related improvements. Here are steps to facilitate this communication process:
- Collect and Analyze Improvement Data: Regularly collect and analyze data related to continual improvement efforts, such as incident trends, near-miss reports, safety metrics, and progress on safety objectives and targets.
- Prepare Clear and Informative Reports: Create concise and informative reports summarizing the results of continual improvement initiatives. These reports should highlight key improvements, achievements, and areas for further focus.
- Engage Workers’ Representatives: If workers’ representatives or safety committees exist, involve them in the review and discussion of improvement results. Seek their input and feedback.
- Regular Safety Meetings: Include discussions on continual improvement results as a standing agenda item in safety meetings or regular team meetings. This provides a forum for sharing updates and receiving input from workers.
- Visual Communication: Use visual aids such as charts, graphs, and dashboards to present improvement data in an easily understandable format. Visuals can help convey complex information more effectively.
- Training and Awareness Programs: Incorporate discussions about continual improvement results into safety training and awareness programs. Educate employees on the positive impact of their contributions.
- Open and Two-Way Communication: Create an environment where workers feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback on improvement results. Encourage an open and two-way dialogue.
- Timely Communication: Ensure that communication about improvement results is timely. Share updates regularly, especially after significant milestones or achievements.
- Recognition and Celebration: Recognize and celebrate the contributions of workers and teams to safety improvements. Highlight their successes as a way to motivate and inspire others.
- Safety Feedback Mechanisms: Establish feedback mechanisms where workers can provide input and suggestions regarding the continual improvement process and related results.
- Feedback on Action Plans: If corrective or preventive actions were taken as part of the improvement process, communicate the results of these actions to workers, along with any changes in processes or procedures.
- Translation and Accessibility: Ensure that improvement communication materials are accessible to all employees, including those with different language preferences or special needs.
- Regular Reporting Schedule: Develop a regular reporting schedule for continual improvement updates. Consistency helps establish expectations for when information will be shared.
- Feedback Collection: Collect feedback from workers and their representatives regarding the effectiveness of improvement efforts and the clarity of communication. Use this feedback to make improvements in the communication process.
- Safety Culture Integration: Integrate discussions about safety improvement into the broader safety culture of the organization. Make safety and improvement part of the organizational identity.
- Reinforce the Link to OH&S Objectives: Emphasize how continual improvement results contribute to the achievement of OH&S objectives and the organization’s commitment to a safer workplace.
- Document and Archive Communication: Maintain records of all communication related to continual improvement results to demonstrate transparency and accountability.
By effectively communicating continual improvement results to workers and their representatives, organizations empower their workforce to actively participate in safety initiatives, drive further improvements, and contribute to a culture of safety excellence.
6) maintaining and retaining documented information as evidence of continual improvement.
- H&S Policy and Objectives:
- Documented OH&S policy and objectives that set the framework for continual improvement efforts.
- OH&S Management System Manual:
- A documented manual that outlines the structure of the OH&S management system, including roles, responsibilities, and processes related to continual improvement.
- Management Review Records:
- Records of management review meetings that include discussions on the effectiveness of the OH&S management system and actions taken to drive improvement.
- Action Plans:
- Documentation of action plans developed to address improvement opportunities, including details on objectives, responsibilities, timelines, and resources.
- Meeting Minutes:
- Minutes of OH&S meetings and safety committee meetings where continual improvement discussions, decisions, and action items are recorded.
- Incident Reports and Investigations:
- Records of incident reports, near-miss reports, and investigations that identify root causes and actions taken to prevent recurrences.
- Corrective and Preventive Action Records:
- Documentation of corrective actions and preventive actions taken to address nonconformities, incidents, and identified risks.
- Performance Data and Metrics:
- Records of performance data, key performance indicators (KPIs), and safety metrics that track progress and trends related to OH&S performance.
- Training and Awareness Records:
- Records of training and awareness programs related to continual improvement efforts and OH&S management system enhancements.
- Communication Records:
- Records of internal and external communications related to continual improvement, including feedback and suggestions received.
- Feedback and Suggestions Records:
- Records of feedback and suggestions from employees and stakeholders regarding potential improvements.
- Audit and Inspection Reports:
- Reports from internal and external OH&S audits and inspections, including findings, nonconformities, and recommendations for improvement.
- Lessons Learned Documentation:
- Documentation of lessons learned from improvement initiatives and incident investigations, including how these lessons were applied.
- Safety Culture Surveys:
- Records of safety culture surveys, including survey instruments, responses, and actions taken in response to survey results.
- Regulatory Compliance Records:
- Documentation of compliance with OH&S regulations, standards, and legal requirements, including any changes made to achieve compliance.
- Recognition and Awards Records:
- Records of recognition and awards given to individuals or teams for their contributions to safety and continual improvement.
- Documentation of Improvement Plans:
- Documentation of plans and strategies for continual improvement, including setting objectives, targets, and action plans.
- Records of External Input:
- Documentation of external input, such as changes in regulations, industry standards, and technological advancements, that may have influenced improvement efforts.
- Records of Training on Improvement Tools:
- Records of training provided to employees on improvement methodologies, tools, and techniques.
- Records of Communication with Interested Parties:
- Records of communication with interested parties regarding improvement efforts, including the needs and expectations of interested parties.
Example of procedure for continual improvement
Objective: This procedure outlines the steps for identifying, evaluating, implementing, and monitoring continual improvements in the organization’s OH&S management system to enhance workplace safety and health.
Scope: This procedure applies to all departments and functions within the organization.
- Top Management: Overall responsibility for promoting a culture of continual improvement and allocating necessary resources.
- OH&S Manager: Oversees the continual improvement process, reviews improvement proposals, and ensures compliance with the procedure.
- Employees: Encouraged to participate by reporting hazards, suggesting improvements, and actively contributing to safety initiatives.
- Safety Committees: Review and prioritize improvement suggestions and assist in their implementation.
- Identification of Improvement Opportunities:
- Employees, safety committees, and other stakeholders are encouraged to identify improvement opportunities related to OH&S.
- Improvement suggestions may arise from incident reports, near-miss reports, safety inspections, hazard assessments, safety culture surveys, regulatory changes, and employee feedback.
- Recording Improvement Suggestions:
- All improvement suggestions are documented, including details such as the suggestion, source, date of submission, and potential benefits.
- Suggestions are reviewed for clarity and feasibility.
- Prioritization of Improvement Suggestions:
- Safety committees and relevant departments review and prioritize improvement suggestions based on factors such as severity, potential impact, and available resources.
- Suggestions are categorized as high-priority, medium-priority, or low-priority.
- Development of Improvement Plans:
- High-priority improvement suggestions are selected for further action.
- An improvement plan is developed for each selected suggestion, including objectives, targets, responsible parties, timelines, and resource allocation.
- The plan should also include risk assessments and evaluations of potential unintended consequences.
- Implementation of Improvement Plans:
- Responsible parties execute the improvement plans according to established timelines.
- Adequate resources are allocated, and necessary training is provided.
- Corrective and preventive actions are taken as appropriate.
- Monitoring and Measurement:
- Progress toward improvement objectives and targets is regularly monitored and measured using key performance indicators (KPIs) and safety metrics.
- Performance data is analyzed to assess the effectiveness of improvement efforts.
- Review and Documentation:
- Safety committees, management, and responsible parties review the results of implemented improvements.
- The effectiveness of each improvement is assessed, and any necessary adjustments are made.
- All documentation related to the improvement process, including records of actions taken and results, is maintained.
- The organization communicates the results of continual improvement efforts to employees, safety committees, and relevant stakeholders.
- Achievements and lessons learned are shared to motivate further improvements.
- Integration with the OH&S Management System:Continual improvement efforts are integrated with the OH&S management system, aligned with the organization’s OH&S policy and objectives.
- Feedback and Feedback Loops:Feedback is actively sought from employees and stakeholders on the effectiveness and satisfaction with implemented improvements. Feedback is used to refine the continual improvement process.
- Documentation and Records:All documentation related to continual improvement, including records of improvement plans, actions taken, and results, is retained in accordance with the organization’s document control procedures.
- Review and Revision: The Continual Improvement Procedure is periodically reviewed and revised to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with organizational goals and objectives.