Where do you set your level of ambition when it comes to your work environment management? Is it following the law so you can avoid sanctions, or have you raised the bar and work with structures and values to ensure a sound work environment and security culture, for real? Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you belong to the latter. How do we get more people to realize how smart this is? Here’s where the management system and standards enter the picture – they make it easier.

I want more people to raise their levels of ambition when it comes to work environment management, and recognize the benefits of building in a clear framework, for what is acceptable and not acceptable at the work place, into the management system.

With management taking the lead, it’s easy to communicate what’s ok and what isn’t – only then will accidents decrease and well-being increase. What if more people integrated quality and financial goals into their systems? Surely having engaged employees would increase profit. The sky is the limit!

Use the Standard and Involve Everyone in HOW it is Beneficial

In laws as well as in the standard ISO 45001:2018 you can read “WHAT” to do. In order to get it right, everyone needs to work on their “HOW”, i.e. how to do it, to get it right. It is the “HOW”, that is the management system. According to ISO 45001, the management system for work environment, can be used as a tool and a checklist to ensure nothing falls between the cracks. This makes it much easier!

My experience tells me that things work well if you have your “WHAT” and your “HOW” and then connect methods and descriptions to the different parts of the standard. And, if you widen the scope to include entrepreneurs and subconsultants in the work method and the management system – even better. This will make the safety net stronger and, realizing how important you are as a group, will increase the “we-feeling”. Take the initiative! I think there are clever business advantages to be won here.

Most errors that occur don’t happen because of malice, but because of lack of communication and misunderstandings – people don’t know what’s ok and what isn’t. In other words: You have a poorly implemented management system. Companies need clear goals with key behaviors, that tell you how to behave, connected. It sounds obvious, but when the benefits of using a management system are not explained, it can feel arduous.

Those of you who work with management systems and have ambitions, take great care in communicating. Not just within your company, but also with customers and other stakeholders. Be proud, you are important. Let great examples lead the way!

Written by
Malin Källbacka, Swedish Institute for Standards, Educational consultant and operations developer. Read more here

PS: The new standard (ISO 45001:2018) can contribute to a good work environment, for real. Not only does the standard support forward-looking companies and organizations, it also makes it easier for all those wanting to improve their work environment. Let’s make it popular and widely used!