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Health and Safety, Why Bother?

From about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840 the industrial revolution kicked in and manufacturing took a leap forward, as did employees’ exposure to the risk of serious injury or death.

Children worked alongside adults for up 14 hours a day in the textile industry with only an hour a day for rest. The mill owners had little respect for life and injuries could be horrific.

By 1833 The Factory Act established that no children were to work in factories under the age of nine with a working week of no more than 48 hours. Also, inspectors were appointed to ensure regulations were adhered to.

All this seems a long time ago when machinery was less well guarded, life was cheap, and the risk of injury was seen as an occupational hazard.

Scroll forward to the present day and consider the working environment we are all now exposed to. Is it safer compared to 250 years ago?

You will hear in the media that health and safety has gone mad and we need to simply apply common sense. But common sense is not measurable and even if it was, at best it’s an average approach, because some people have little or none to start with.

Ask yourself a simple question, “would I put my child to work today based purely on common sense?

If you answer is no, then I have already made my point.

The truth is that by the end of the industrial revolution people were safer than they were at the start, not by luck or allowing each person to use their common sense, but by implementing controls.

Today, The International Labour Organisation has calculated that 7,600 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases – that’s over 2.78 million every year.

The burden of occupational injuries and diseases is significant, both for employers and the wider economy, resulting in losses from early retirements, staff absence and rising insurance premiums.

To combat the problem, the International Organization for Standardization has developed a new standard, ISO45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements, that will help organisations reduce this burden by providing a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.

The standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, and follows other generic management system approaches such as ISO14001 and ISO9001.

It will take into account other International Standards in this area such as OHSAS18001, the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH Guidelines, various national standards and the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions.

If you have OHSAS18001 you have three years to migrate to ISO45001.

Alpha Swanson have assisted clients to install OHSAS18001 and ISO45001 as well as migrations from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001.

Remember that wishing for things to happen, rarely returns the results you want. The only way to ensure the safety of our friends and family, is by process.

If you would like more information, then please get in touch.

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We decided our company would benefit from gaining various ISO certifications, but being a relatively new company with no experience of this we knew there would be a lot of work to do and that we required the services of an external consultant. We were provided with a list of companies by the certification body...

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