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ISO 45001: Our H&S Commitment Recognised

Driven by market, customer and our internal demand to achieve the latest and highest standards, we have been awarded ISO45001 accreditation. This now gives us three ISO standards including 9001 (Quality) 14001 (Environment) and 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety), illustrating our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in every aspect of the business.

Sue Caldwell, Stock and Quality Controller explains, “We achieved ISO:9001 and 14001 over 10 years ago, so adding to these with 45001 seemed a logical next step. This standard allows us to demonstrate our commitment to improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks and providing better and safer working conditions. The purpose of 45001 is to help prevent any injuries and create a safe working environment; any organisation with the standard demonstrates they are responsible and continuously improving.

“Six years ago, we developed a skeleton structure designed to allow us to progress towards the previous standard 18001. This structure has been implemented across our business so although we were not certified, we have been working within 18001 guidelines since then.  As a new Global Occupational H&S standard 45001 was in development we decided to wait and to adopt this.

“Pressed on by a customer request in October 2020, we decided to try and achieve ISO 45001:2018 via Alcumus (whom we work with for our SafeContractor accreditation) and a date was set for Audits in February 2021. Initially we approached these audits as being ‘GAP’ audits to ascertain where we needed to improve. However, as we worked through the requirements of the standard, we found that much of what we were doing already complied;

“We have always had a strong focus on Health and Safety with a H&S committee with a regular meeting schedule, management review and internal audits. Every new starter undergoes H&S training which is then supplemented through our internal toolbox talks and ongoing skills-based training program all of which is recorded and reviewed.

“We’ve created 2 new roles, Works H&S and Quality Representatives with responsibility for ensuring we work to best practise and identify areas for improvement. These new roles are now part of the H&S committee and have been very successful and valuable in improving communication and co-operation across the board. The H&S committee developed all the risk assessments for every routine and non-routine activity; this would be standard practise for any activity involving equipment, but to achieve 45001, these needed to include everything that can be found on site, even down to cleaning materials and household bleach.

“Since October 2020 we’ve engaged with every employee using health questionnaires to gather some baseline information and to also recognise any potential issues. Next step is to initiate occupational screening where required, starting with hearing screening for our fabricators, alongside the noise and vibration monitoring, we already have in place.

The 2-stage audit took place over Zoom, in early in 2021. Stage 1 included a thorough audit of our IMS (Integrated Management System), policies and procedures and legal register including insurance, LOLER (lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations), PAT (portable appliance testing) and PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations).

The second stage included an interview of our MD, Simon and Commercial Director, Odelle Hewitt. Simon Hewitt, MD comments, “We always commit to investing time and effort in obtaining the certification demanded by the market and our customers, such as Achilles and Safe Contractor. To achieve 45001 at our first attempt is a credit to everyone working here, but especially to Sue and the H&S committee. As a business, we are continuously striving to improve wherever we can, from smaller scale initiatives like housekeeping schedules through to recent large scale investment projects including the overhead cranes and water recycling system we installed at the end of 2020. With 45001 added to our existing accreditations, we’ve illustrated our commitment across the board giving everyone dealing with us confidence in our products, people, processes and plans for the future.”

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