Covid-19: addressing workplace challenges on World Day for Safety and Health at Work

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Por Clare Naden
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Keeping safe and healthy in the workplace is important at any time, but even more so in times like these. This year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and ISO is right behind the efforts with guidance to help.

The world of work has been thrown upside down, with key challenges being to keep businesses afloat as well as manage safety and security at work. This is true for both those able to work and those who will need to prepare for an eventual return.

The theme of this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work is “Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives”, which recognizes the many unprecedented challenges that organizations face at this time and raises awareness of the importance of effective occupational health and safety services.

Close shot of notices reinforcing social distancing at a queue line barrier.

ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, is the first and only International Standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management, containing agreed good practice from around the world. It provides useful guidance and a framework to reduce work-related risks, protect health and increase safety at work.

Workplace health, however, is not limited to physical safety and well-being. The stresses and fears that this period has induced impact us all. Workers everywhere could be affected by the prevailing uncertainty and their working environment plays a vital role in reducing this.

Recognizing this fact, work is underway to develop a complementary standard that addresses psychological health. The future ISO 45003, Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Guidelines, will provide guidance on the requirements of ISO 45001 with respect to managing psychological health and safety risks within an OH&S management system.

The standard will address the many areas that can impact a worker’s psychological health, including ineffective communication, excessive pressure, poor leadership and organizational culture. It is expected to be published sometime in 2021.

ISO 45001 and the future ISO 45003 are developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 283, Occupational health and safety management, the secretariat of which is held by BSI, ISO’s member for the United Kingdom. ISO 45001 is available for purchase from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

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