How ISO 45001 could cut the £15 billion cost of work-related injuries
As a lone worker, you shoulder a lot of responsibility for your occupational health and safety. After all, there is no-one else in your working environment to spot a risk or hazard. The new occupational health and safety standard, ISO 45001, won’t lessen that responsibility, but, through additional training, it will make it much easier for you to spot risks and keep yourself safe.
A range of risks
Being so responsible for your workspace means that you need to have a broad understanding of safety risks. Recent figures released by the Health and Safety Executive reveal that there were 144 fatal injuries between 2017 and 2018.
In addition, 0.6 million workers suffered a non-fatal injury at work, and more than half of them related to slips, trips, lifting or manual handling. These types of injuries contribute to the 3.9 million working days lost to non-fatal injuries. Injuries such as these also pose a greater risk to lone workers as there is no one there to raise the alarm if you are hurt.
The human cost
In addition to detailing the types of risk a lone worker has to think about, the HSE reveals the toll that workplace injuries can inflict on both employers and employees. The annual costs of work-related injury and ill health are estimated at an incredible £15bn for 2018.
However, it is the worker who bears the brunt of these costs. Of that headline figure, individual workers face £8.6bn in costs for healthcare, grief, suffering and loss of life.
How can ISO 45001 help lone workers?
Lone workers face a myriad of health and safety risks. They also bear both the injury and the majority of the costs if they are hurt, but too often don’t receive the in-depth training they need to remain safe. This education is often given to health and safety officers, who might only visit your workplace periodically to conduct checks.
ISO 45001 seeks to change that by placing an onus on an organisation to provide adequate education and training for all staff, including managers.
Even better, ISO 45001 introduces a new attitude towards risk. Previous health and safety standards required employers to catalogue hazards and implement procedures to control them.
This meant that workers could be left in danger if regulations were slow to catch up to a new hazard. But the new standard requires a more proactive stance, identifying any possible risk whether it has previously been deemed a hazard or not.
Combined, this means that workers can expect to receive in-depth training that will give them the tools to better identify risks and protect themselves when working alone.
Lone workers will still need to shoulder the majority of responsibility for their safety in their workplace, but ISO 45001 seeks to establish a new culture in which they will receive the tools and support they need to ensure their safety.