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ISO 45001, the International Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management is the globally approved method to “OHAS” for organisations worldwide. Its systemized approach to occupational health and safety brings endless benefits to businesses of every shape, size and sector: Apart from its most important function of saving lives and protecting wellbeing, it can also improve business performance, reduce financial risk and enhance reputation.

Maria McKeown, an NSAI Business Excellence auditor has been working with ISO 45001 throughout her career. However, only in 2020 did it become particularly apparent to her that businesses with the solid backing of the Standard were significantly more agile in times of great uncertainty:

“In this pandemic, which is one of those emergency situations that happens once in a lifetime, organisations that had a structure around health and safety were better prepared and better able to implement any of the measures that were required. [The Standard] allowed them to have the infrastructure to try and get their business back [in action] in a short duration of time.”

Evidently, implementing and becoming certified to ISO 45001 can be advantageous for many SMEs. However, it can be a daunting process for those small businesses who have never before worked with Standards.

“Standards, in general, can be a little bit intimidating for those who aren't in the [Standards] industry. Let's be honest, they're not the easiest thing in the world to read, and it takes a while to get into the jargon, if you like,” said Noel Clarke, chairperson of NSAI TC028, NSAI’s Technical Committee for “Occupational health and safety managements systems”.

To ‘bridge the gap’, Noel’s Technical Committee has created a practical guide for SMEs looking to apply ISO 45001 to their business. The Practical Guide is published jointly by NSAI, the International Organization for Standardization and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, and contains practical examples that will help small businesses to effectively and efficiently apply the ISO 45001 management system throughout their business.

Is your business just starting out with the Occupational Health and Safety Standard? The ISO/NSAI Practical Guide to ISO 45001 may be the perfect first step, and is available to purchase here.