A new health and safety standard, ISO 45001, published today (Monday) must be much more than “pointless paperwork”, warns the TUC.
The standard means that from today companies will be able to get certification that confirms that their health and safety management systems have passed set requirements.
The TUC believes that a serious health and safety management system should be about more than gaining certification. Simply meeting the requirements of ISO 45001 should not be used as a sign that an organisation has been successful in reducing and managing risk.
Unions have warned that the private standards approach could lead to a move away from prevention-based risk management developed by working with unions, to a more bureaucratic, process-driven approach aimed at achieving and maintaining accreditation.
The TUC believes that over time ISO 45001 could be required for gaining contracts in some sectors, like construction and infrastructure work. It may also be required for the UK branches of multi-national companies who want to standardise their health and safety management systems.
The TUC believes it is vital that employers using the ISO 45001 do so in a way that raises standards and fully involves workers, and has today (Monday) published detailed guide for union health and safety representatives to help them work with companies who decide to seek ISO 45001 certification.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The TUC believes that having a health and safety management system is important, but it must be more than pointless paperwork.
“What makes a workplace safer is removing hazards, controlling risks and ensuring good worker involvement.
“Anyone worried about health and safety in their workplace should join a union, to get the support they need and their interests represented at work.”