According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Work-Related Injuries Survey, more than 560,000 people had a work-related injury or disease in the 2017–18 financial year.

While workplace deaths have been trending downward, declining 50 per cent since 2007, there were 194 deaths in the 2020 year – which is devastating.

The latest SafeWork Australia statistics for the year up to 2021 showed:

  • 96 per cent of worker fatalities in 2020 were male.
  • Vehicle collisions accounted for 41 per cent of all 2020 worker fatalities (most years, in both Australia and New Zealand, work vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace death).
  • Machinery operators and drivers had the highest number of fatalities by occupation (67 fatalities) in 2020.
  • Workers compensation claims totalled 120,355 in 2019-20, an increase compared to the previous year.

On a global perspective, according to the International Labour Organization:

  • 02 million people die each year from work-related diseases.
  • 321,000 people die each year from occupational accidents.
  • Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease.
  • Every 15 seconds, 151 workers have a work-related accident.

It’s obvious workplaces need to become safer – and that change needs to come from within. With effective processes in place, these incidents can be prevented.

ISO 45001: Giving workplaces a safety standard to rise to

ISO 45001 certification is fundamentally designed to reduce workplace injuries, deaths and diseases through robust safety management systems.  ISO 45001 certification is best achieved through a Plan-Do-Check-Act model. This is offered by HR Assured’s sister company QMS Certification Services.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act model allows a business to quickly and easily review its Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) management system, monitor its effectiveness, identify potential gaps in the system and provide new opportunities for improvement.

Regular audits using the Plan-Do-Act-Check model can help reduce work-related incidents both on and off-site. This can have a positive impact on workplace safety, productivity, team morale and more.

3 ways ISO 45001 can improve safety in the workplace

1. Your business will proactively identify and address hazards in the workplace

Think of the Plan-Do-Check-Act framework as an “early warning system” for potential risks, so you can prevent accidents rather than react to them.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act model means you will be able to identify potential hazards in the workplace and create firm processes to minimise the risk of injuries, illness and deaths on or offsite.

Achieving ISO45001 should mean these benefits for your business:

  • A sense of trust between employer and employees.
  • A safer, happier workplace.
  • A positive reputation with third parties (increasing potential tender prospects).
  • Lower insurance premiums.
  • Reduced employee turnover.

2. Your business will minimise risks with continual analysis and improvements

Identification of WHS risks and opportunities is the first step in the process. The next step is to analyse the associated impacts to identify and take appropriate actions to minimise risks, eliminate hazards or correct gaps in the system.

Like all ISO standards, ISO 45001 is about continual analysis and improvement. Addressing the “check” and “act” stages of the Plan-Do-Check-Act model can further minimise risks and make your workplace a safer, more efficient space.

Here are some potential questions you and your team can cover off during the review or analysis stage:

  • Have there been any unexpected challenges within the business recently?
  • Have any of our team members reported challenges or accidents on or offsite?
  • Have we been using any new machinery that could be hazardous?
  • Are our team members trained well enough to use this machinery safely?
  • Have we been working on any new or challenging sites recently?

Getting audited towards ISO45001 will encourage your business to review its WHS system and processes quarterly, bi-annually or annually to keep on top of process improvements and workplace safety.

3. Your employees will have set processes on how to reduce the risk of injuries and illnesses

As your WHS system and processes improve, your team members will require additional training to get up to speed. This training will not only improve your team’s skill set, but their new and improved knowledge will allow them to work safer on and offsite.

Thanks to improved processes and training, your team members will feel more confident in their individual roles, be more mindful of best practices and take responsibility for safety of themselves and co-workers.

The process for beginning ISO 45001 certification

To achieve ISO 45001 certification, you need to prove compliance to the requirements of the Standard.

This requires:

  • Passing an assessment, conducted by QMS Certification Services and approved by ISO.
  • Implementing any necessary improvements to improve safety in the workplace.

To find out more about ISO 45001 certification, contact the team at QMS Certification Services today.