Employee Participation:ISO 45001 falls behind OHSAS 18001:2007

In clause “7.4.2 Participation, consultation and representation”, the first draft of ISO 45001 falls behind clause “ Participation and consultation” of OHSAS 18001:2007. The requirements for employee participation became more ambiguous. For example, the scope of “consultation” has been limited to “an exchange of relevant information and advice as part of the decision making process” in a footnote. (That footnote is the only mentioning of “consultation” in clause 7.4.2.) OHSAS 18001:2007 requires “consultation [with the employees] where there are any changes that effect their OH&S”. The scope of OHSAS 18001:2007 is much wider.
In http://www.irca.org/en-gb/resources/INform/archive/INform–Issue-46/Opinion-ISO45001-stumbles-at-first-hurdle/ (INform, Mai 2014), IRCA’s Technical Manager Richard Green wrote:

[…] The degree to which employee participation in occupational health and safety should be embedded into the new standard is also a hot topic with a number of international employee focused organisations seeking to maximise such involvement. […]

I think, this is not about “maximizing employee participation”. Rather, at least the level which has been reached with OHSAS 18001:2007 has to be defended by employee organizations like the ILO and (hopefully) by large unions, e.g. those under the roof of the DGB (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund).
By the way: I saw quite some foot dragging by employers when it came to moving from OHSAS 18001:1999 to OHSAS 18001:2007. There may be a reason: Employers may have tried to avoid to put 18001:2007 at work in order to wait for its dilusion by ISO 45001. Probably advised by their CABs (by their accredited certifiers, CAB = Conformity Assessment Body) who also are involved in influencing ISO 45001, the imployers hope that they can reverse some of the improvements achieved with OHSAS 18001:2007. Worse, during implementation of OHSAS 18001:2007, the CABs of the employers may even have helped the employers to minimize employee participation. I know of one big German CAB who did not object to his customer’s sticking with OHSAS 18001:1999. The customer’s neglect was clearly recognizable in the OH&S manual. The CAB took action only after an employee complained in the year 2013.
OHSAS 18001 improved in 2007 because that British standard had to compete with ILO-OSH and had to be accepted by well organized labor organizations (e.g. in Britain) as well. To me it seems that ISO 45001 moves towards a dilution of OHSAS 18001:2007. That doesn’t come as a surprise, as more regions with low safety standards are involved in discussing ISO 45001. In many of these regions, the employers do not really want to protect their workers too well.
I fear that ISO 45001 mainly will serve to (a) increase the “legal certainity” of companies and (b) as a source of income for advisors, consultants and CABs. This has an impact on how the CABs want ISO 45001 to work for them and for ther clients. Employees are not the clients of CABs, employers are. Although protecting the health of emloyees is the official objective of ISO 45001, in reality that objective probably will have to take the backseat after OHSAS 18001 has been cleverly eliminated. Instead of improving the occupational health and safety of employees, to employers and CABs maximizing the employers’ legal certainty and minimizing the cost of OHS&S has the first priority.

ISO 45001 is already in ill health

This is about the terms “ill health” and “incident” in the first draft of ISO 45001.
(See also clauses 3.8 and 3.9 in OHSAS 18001:2007.)

  • Ill health
    • ISO 45001: The first draft of ISO 45001 explains in line 322, that the overall objective of the OH&S management system is to prevent injury or ill health arising out of, linked with or occurring in the course of work. But there is no definition of “ill health”. (In clause 3.09 the draft states, that “occupational diseases are a type of ill health”, but that doesn’t define “ill health”.)
    • OHSAS 18001: In clause 3.8 of OHSAS 18001:2007 “ill health” is defined as “Identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity and/or work-related situation.”
  • Incident
    • ISO 45001: In clause 3.19A of the ISO 45001 draft, “incident” is defined as “occurrence arising out of or in the course of work that could or does result in death, injury or ill health”.
    • OHSAS 18001: In clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007, “incident” is defined as “Work-related event(s) in which an injury or ill health (regardless of severity) or fatality occurred, or could have occurred.” In ISO 45001 there is no “(regardless of severity)”.

Even though ISO 45001 claims that the overall objective of the OH&S management system is to prevent injury or ill health, the important terms “ill health” and “injury” are not defined in “3 Terms and definitions”. How strange! In OHSAS 18001:2007 there is a definition at least for “Ill health”. Without that good and important definition, ISO 45001 already is in ill health.
The word “mental” only appears once in the ISO 45001 draft. “An organization is responsible for ensuring its people are able to work in a manner that is safe and which protects their physical and mental health.” But that is not part of the standard. You find it in the introduction only (clause “0.1 Background”). So there is no mentioning of mental health in the standard, although this is a very hot topic in these days.
The omission of “(regardless of severity)” is interesting. I know of a large OHSAS 18001 certified European company where the OH&S manual had been upgraded from OHSAS 18001:1999 to OHSAS 18001:2007. Seemingly “(regardless of severity)” didn’t suit them too well, so they just dropped it from the definition of the term “incident” in their OH&S manual. The CAB didn’t mind, but an employee addressed that to the works council. The employer could be convinced to use the complete definition as it can be found in clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007. A mentioning of “Ill health” in the definition of “Incident” in ISO 45001 without “”(regardless of severity)” makes it easier for employers to avoid the registration and investigation of an “incident” which could or does result in ill health. Especially if mental ill health regardless of severity could have been caused by an incident, the employer may not want to have such incidents to be mentioned in his OH&S reports.
Clause 3.19A (Definition von “incident”) in the first draft of ISO 45001: http://drafts.bsigroup.com/Home/View/3311599 (not online anymore)

ISO 45001: Useless without employee participation

This is about employee participation by consultation, not about just limiting employee participation to shifting responsibilities to workers without co-determination. Why is consultation with employees important? It is, because the employers are the paying clients of the “conformity assessment bodies” (CABs). In the example below you will see, how employee representatives did the job which CABs should do.
Let’s take a Europan company. A certifier (an akkredited CAB) certified the OH&S management system of several company sites of a multinational enterprise based on the BS OHSAS 18001:2007 in the year 2008. However, even after several further audits it wasn’t the CAB who found out that the certificate just was a badge on the wall. The works council found the flaws. Then these employee representatives started to dig deeper.

  • The OH&S manual was based mainly on OHSAS 18001:1999 until December 2013. (Due date for the upgrade was end of July, 2009.)
  • The manual was the description of the OH&S management system and contained the company specific OH&S rules. Although the change of OH&S rules are subject to co-determination at all European company sites, the company changed and published the manual without any consultation with the employee representatives.
  • The company called changes in the “scope” section of the OH&S manual “Editorial Change” even though these changes had legal consequences and affected the whole manual. The altered manual was published without any signature. That is, the top management did not take any responsibility for the altered OH&S manual.
  • An employee who filed in an overwork report received a warning. He needed a lawyer to convince the company to withdraw the threat. As the allegations in the warning were unsubstantiated, the company finally had to withdraw the warning.
    The works council classified the unsubstantiated warning as a threat which is an incident as defined in clause 3.9 in OHSAS 18001:2007: A work-related event in which ill health (regardless of severity) could have occurred. (Ill health: Identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity and/or work-related situation.)
  • Another employee who filed in an overwork report was asked to accept less pay for a less stressful job. No incident evaluation was performed. The works council intervened successfully.
  • Until 2012 there were no co-determided processes to monitor and evaluate mental workload (ISO 10075).
  • Altered risk assessment forms were introduced without announcement to the works council.
  • Employees and their managers didn’t know anything about OHSAS 18001. They also didn’t know too much about the OH&S manual. The top management didn’t know too much about their OHSAS 18001 related obligations either.
  • Until 2013 employee representatives could not participate in audits conducted by the CAB.
  • The organization did not establish, implement and maintain a procedure for the participation of workers by their appropriate involvement in hazard identification, risk assessments and determination of controls – neither by their appropriate involvement in incident investigation, nor by their involvement in the development and review of OH&S policies and objectives, nor by their consultation where there are any changes that effect their OH&S, nor by their representation on OH&S matters. Workers were not informed about their OHSAS 18001 related participation arrangements. The CAB didn’t care. The employee representatives had to find that out themselves – and luckily did so.
  • The company tried to exclude the very member of the works council, who discovered these issues, from a meeting on integrating the corporate health management into the OH&S management system.

The works council finally understood and addressed these issues. The CAB didn’t. CABs check “the system”. Seemingly they don’t want to know how systems work in reality. If there is no serious employee participation, ISO 45001 certificates will be just badges on the wall as well.
As for developping the ISO 45001 standard, it should be considerered to improve on the audit rules for CABs and to use the Dutch SCCM audit scheme. That goes beyond ISO 17021. See also http://blog.psybel.de/kategorie/referenzen/behoerden/sccm/ (mostly in German).
PS: There also are encouraging examples. I work for a company which e.g. has a joint commitee (employer plus employee representatives plus external experts) for mental workload risk evaluation. And the works council has ressources to conduct internal audits (ISO 19011) and to participate in external audits (also ISO 17021). It should be mandatory for modern works councils to acquire the capabilities to participate in such audits.

ISO 45001: Erster Entwurf liegt vor


… DNV GL wird Sie selbstverständlich über die Entwicklungen auf dem Laufenden halten und im Rahmen von Trainings bei der Umstellung Ihres Managementsystems unterstützen.

Betriebsräte, die Erfahrungen mit Zertifizierern wie DNV GL bei der Umstellung von OHSAS 18001:1999 zu OHSAS 18001:2007 haben, sollten bei der Umstellung auf die ISO 45001 ihre Mitbestimmungsmöglichkeiten gemäß BetrVG und Absatz (Mitbestimmung) in OHSAS 18001:2007 intensiv nutzen.
Arbeitnehmervertretungen, die noch keine Erfahrungen mit Arbeitsschutzmanagementsystemen (AMS) haben, können im gut lesbaren OHSAS 18002:2008 viel darüber lernen. (Einen daran angelehnten Text gibt es kostenlos auf Englisch.) Das ist OHSAS 18001:2007 mit Tipps zur Umsetzung und bleibt ein immer noch lesenswertes Lehrbüchlein zum Thema AMS. Es könnte sich auch lohnen, einen Berater hinzuzuziehen. Es gibt Zertifizierer, die nur sehr zurückhaltend mit Betriebsräten zusammenarbeiten. Die Arbeitgeber haben ein großes Angebot an bei der DAkkS akkreditierten Zertifizierern, und im Wettbewerb zwischen den Zertifizierern gewinnen nicht notwendigerweise die kritischeren Auditoren.
Für den ersten Enwurf des Standards ISO 45001 muss man im ISO Store 38 Schweizer Franken berappen. Aber man kann sich den Entwurf auch beim BSI ansehen und kommentieren.

ISO 45001 stumbles at first hurdle

http://www.irca.org/en-gb/resources/INform/archive/INform%2D-Issue-46/Opinion-ISO45001-stumbles-at-first-hurdle/ (INform, Mai 2014)

[…] The degree to which employee participation in occupational health and safety should be embedded into the new standard is also a hot topic with a number of international employee focused organisations seeking to maximise such involvement. […]

http://www.eurogip.fr/en/recents-articles/39-standardization/3731-second-international-meeting-on-the-iso-45001-standard-on-occupational-health-and-safety-management-systems (June 2014)

[…] The second session of ISO Project Committee PC 283 was held in Casablanca, Morocco, from 31 March to 4 April 2014. It brought together 85 experts representing more than 61 countries and 12 liaising organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Although it was intense, this meeting was unable to deal with the 1300 or so comments and 230 pages of text generated […]

http://www.iso.org/iso/news.htm?refid=Ref1874 (David Smith, Chairman of project commitee ISO/PC 283, Occupational health and safety management systems; July 2014)

[…] We have also had strong involvement from the International Labour Organization (ILO), who are experts on the topic and have some very valuable insights to bring to the table.
Of course, with this many stakeholders, the development work isn’t always easy and there are disagreements. […]


[…] In this article we discuss the issues raised during a recent meeting held by ISO and how it may affect the future development of ISO 45001 (also known as OH&S 18001). If you were not aware that the standard is being revised you may want to read this article 1st OH&S 18001 to become ISO 45001 […]

http://www.ilo.org/Search3/search.do?searchWhat=”ISO+45001″ (Search for “ISO 45001” at ILO)

ISO 45001: philosophical difference about the scope

http://www.ishn.com/blogs/16-thought-leadership/post/99002-99002-mark-your-calendar-october-2016 (2014-07-10; by Tom Slavin)

[…] The ISO standards process tends to be fairly bureaucratic and target focused. Deadlines need to be met even if the standard is not quite ready. The assumption is that problems can be fixed at the next stage or next revision. […]

[…] Perhaps the most fundamental debate is a philosophical difference about the scope (should the standard focus on hazard reduction or management system elements?). The OHSAS 18001 group would like to focus on hazard reduction, mainly because it is easier to audit. The ANSI Z10 group (mostly U.S.) would like to focus on hazard control and management system elements, such as management support and employee involvement. […]

[…] It was evident that the hazard control processes and programs covered by OHSAS 18001 are good on paper but have management systems and safety culture blind spots […]

Very interesting article.

Position der KAN zur ISO 45001

http://www.kan.de/normung/basisdokumente-kan-positionen/ -> http://www.kan.de/fileadmin/Redaktion/Dokumente/Basisdokumente/de/EU/2014-03-25_declaration_de_final.pdf (2014-03-25):

[…] Im Oktober 2013 hat ISO den Antrag des britischen Normungsinstitutes BSI angenommen, eine internationale Norm für Arbeitsschutzmanagementsysteme (ISO 45001) zu erarbeiten. Basis hierfür ist OHSAS 18001, die bereits in zahlreichen Ländern angewendet wird. In Kommentaren an ihre nationalen Normungsinstitute haben deutsche und französische Arbeitsschutzkreise auf die Tatsache verwiesen, dass mit dem ILO-Leitfaden für AMS und dessen nationalen Umsetzungen bereits geeignete Vorgaben für Arbeitsschutzmanagementsysteme (AMS) existieren. EUROGIP, das INRS und die KAN befürchten daher, dass die ISO-Norm keinen Mehrwert bringt, aber zu einem höheren Zertifizierungsdruck führen wird. Dies würde vor allem kleine und mittlere Unternehmen betreffen, die zertifiziert werden müssten, um als Zulieferer Aufträge zu erhalten oder sich an Ausschreibungen beteiligen zu können. Da das ISO Projektkomitee 283 die Arbeit an der Norm „Arbeitsschutzmanagementsysteme – Anforderungen“ bereits begonnen hat, haben sich EUROGIP, das INRS und die KAN entschieden, sich sowohl in den nationalen Spiegelgremien als auch im ISO/PC 283 aktiv in die Normungsarbeit einzubringen. […]

Warten auf ISO 45001

Es gibt jetzt schon Unternehmen, die sich den Arbeitsschutzmanagement-Standard OHSAS 18001 zwar zutrauen, aber lieber auf die Norm ISO 45001 warten. Das wird wohl bis zum Oktober 2016 dauern.
Der Grund dafür kann rein wirtschaftlicher Natur sein. Aber da es Unternehmen sogar mit Hilfe der bei der DAkkS akkreditierten Zertifizierer gelingt, entgegen den Forderungen von OHSAS 18001 wichtige Regelungen zur Mitbestimmung (OHSAS 18001:2007, Abs. aus ihrem Arbeitsschutzmanagement herauszuhalten, könnte ich mir vorstellen, dass sich diese nicht allzu mitbestimmungsaffinen Unternehmen von der ISO 45001 weniger eindeutige Forderungen nach Mitbestimmung im Arbeits- und Gesundheitsschutz erhoffen.
Wie die ISO 45001 am Ende aussehen wird, hängt von den an der Entwicklung der Norm beteiligten Sozialpartner ab. Der DGB ist auch dabei, aber ich weiß nicht, was die Gewerkschaftsvertreter werden durchsetzen können. In OHSAS 18001:2007 gibt es einige erhaltenswerte Regelungen.
Betriebsräte in bereits nach OHSAS 18001:2007 zertifizierten Unternehmen merken oft gar nicht, welche Möglichkeiten ihnen der Standard im Arbeitschutz geben kann, wenn ihr Unternehmen danach zertifiziert ist. Manche Betriebsräte in zertifizierten Unternehmen interessieren sich sogar überhaupt nicht für den Standard. Wenn auch noch die Gewerkschaften die Bedeutung der Normenarbeit für den erhalt guter Arbeitsbedingungen unterschätzen, dann könnten den Betriebsräten gute Möglichkeiten zur Mitbestimmung im Arbeitsschutz wieder weggenommen werden. Betriebsräten, die sich nicht auskennen, werden diese Möglichkeiten jetzt schon weggenommen.

2016?: OHSAS 18001 wird ISO 45001

Hier geht es um einen internationalen Standard für Arbeitsschutzmanagementsysteme.

[…] Die ISO-Norm wird auf dem Leitfaden OHSAS 18001 basieren und vermutlich 2016 oder 2017 veröffentlicht werden. […]

Siehe auch:

TIP: Vergeuden sie keine Zeit und kein Geld für die DIN SPEC 91020 (Betriebliches Gesundheitsmanagement). Das ist ja ohnehin kein Standard für den Arbeits- und Gesundheitsschutz. Bereiten Sie sich mit OHSAS 18001 auf die ISO 45001 vor.
Übrigens: Eine DIN EN 45001 gab es schon einmal. Die wurde durch eine DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 (Allgemeine Anforderungen an die Kompetenz von Prüf- und Kalibrierlaboratorien) abgelöst.