ISO 45001 – Context of the organisation
Context of the organisation, what does this mean?
BS ISO 45001 Context of the organization (clause 4), covers the following:
- Understanding the organization and its context
- Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties
- Determining the scope of the OH&S management system
- OH&S management system
It within this clause that companies will begin to look, review and assess what they do, where they are in the market place and, particularly in respect of Health and Safety who could be harmed or affected by their activities.
Understanding the organization and its context
As part of the new common structure, with ISO 45001, the organisation must look beyond their own health and safety issues and consider what the society expects from them, in regard with health and safety issues.
Determination of issues that could affect the business can be undertaken in a number of ways and will be different for each business, based on size, complexity, scope of operations, etc.
A structured approach can be through methods such as:
- SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats), can be used by organizations to look inward at themselves
- PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental), can be used to identify external issues that could affect the organization
These methods can also support in the identification of business objectives and improvement areas.
Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties
Here, organizations are to determine those (relevant) interested parties that could affect or be affected by the organization and its OH&S management system, along with their needs and expectations that could become compliance (legal) obligations.
Relevant interested parties can include; staff (workers at any level), customers, legal and regulatory authorities, owners, shareholders, etc.
Also consider Contractors and Suppliers used, how work can affect others in surrounding areas e.g. neighbours, public, visitors, etc.
Some requirements / obligations will be mandatory e.g. Laws, Regulations, others agreed e.g. Contracts.
Determining the scope of the OH&S management system
Following determination of the external and internal issues and interested parties (above), the organization can then determine the scope of the OH&S management system.
There is an element of freedom and flexibility in defining the boundaries, however, it should be noted, organizations cannot:
- exclude activities, products and services that have / can impact its OH&S performance
- evade legal and other requirements
OH&S management system
The organization will determine, implement and maintain the processes required to fulfil the requirements of BS ISO 45001. These processes should be aligned and integrated throughout the organization e.g. Procurement, Operations, HR, etc. to ensure that everyone is aware and working towards the OH&S performance.
Where organizations have additional management system standard certification it may have covered some of these areas, however, a review will identify whether OH&S specific details have been determined.