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ISO 45001 – Clause 5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities

ISO Standards

The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) of ISO 45001, the Occupational Health and Safety Management System standard was published in late November with the final version to be published in February/March 2018. The final standard will be published with only very minor changes to the FDIS version. This is the seventh in a series of blogs, in which we will describe what the implementing company must do in order to meet the requirement of the draft standard. We will look at clause 5.3: Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities.

Clause 5.3: Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities

Top management should ensure that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles within the OH&S management system are assigned and communicated at all levels within the organization and maintained as documented information.

Organizational roles

Top management is ultimately responsible for the OH&S management system, even if the day-to-day decisions related to occupational health and safety are delegated to others. What is delegated and to whom should be clearly and unambiguously communicated so that everybody understands who is responsible for what.

Top management should assign the responsibility and authority for:

  • Ensuring that the OH&S management system conforms to the requirements of ISO 45001;
  • Reporting on the performance of the OH&S management system to top management.

Since resources can be limited, opportunities should be sought out to integrate OH&S responsibilities within existing functions of the organization, such as manufacturing, facilities management, purchasing, and human resources.  If other management systems are already in place, such as quality, environment, energy or food safety, synergies may exist where there are similar roles and responsibilities. This will enhance ownership of OH&S management across the organization and potentially create efficiencies.

ISO 45001 requires that the responsibilities and authority of all persons who perform duties that are part of the OH&S management system be documented. These can be described and included in:

  • OH&S management system procedures;
  • Operational procedures and process maps;
  • Project and/or task descriptions;
  • Job descriptions;
  • Induction training packages.

Such documentation can, among others, be required for the following personnel:

  • Management at all levels in the organization, including top management;
  • Safety committees/safety teams;
  • Process operators and the general workforce;
  • Those managing contractors;
  • Those responsible for OH&S training;
  • Those responsible for equipment operation and maintenance;
  • Those responsible for facilities management;
  • Employees with OH&S qualifications, or other OH&S specialists, within the organization;

Care should be taken with the clarification of responsibilities at the interfaces between different functions (e.g. between departments, between different levels of management, between workers, between the organization and contractors and between the organization and its neighbours).

Health & Safety , ISO , ISO 45001 , ISO standards , Occupational Health & Safety
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