2020 changed how many workplaces operate. Organizations were thrown challenges unlike previously seen, looking for new and safe ways to continue business throughout a global pandemic.

Changing health and safety needs 

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a need for specific health and safety guidelines to enable businesses to continue working effectively, or launch throughout the pandemic, while prioritizing the safety of everyone involved. 

Business structures and needs differ greatly and not all have dedicated teams or functions, such as human resources departments, to assist with occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues. A standardized approach to protecting all employees throughout the pandemic that was applicable to businesses of all sizes and operating in all industries, is an important resource to implement procedures to protect employees and improve efficiencies in this new environment. 

How ISO/PAS 45005:2020 can help

The ISO technical committee ISO/TC 283, responsible for the development of Standards for occupational health and safety management, have developed a new Standard in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ISO/PAS 45005:2020 Occupational health and safety management - General guidelines for safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic, provides a set of guidelines to navigate the challenges of remaining safe while adapting operations during the pandemic. It has been created to complement existing national health and safety guidelines. 

While they are a generic set of principles (therefore applicable to all organizations), ISO/PAS 45005:2020 provides comprehensive insight into improving the safety and wellbeing of everyone interacting with a business. The international Standard provides a framework for organizations to review what their risks are and how to continue work while addressing COVID-19 related risks. 

The Standard covers many areas of COVID-19 management in a business. Some areas include:

  • Planning and assessment of risks
  • Suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 
  • Psychological health and well-being 
  • Inclusivity 
  • Resources 
  • Communication 
  • Hygiene 
  • Improvement 

Who benefits from the COVID-19 work safety Standard? 

Employees and customers need to feel safe while working for, or interacting with, a business. The implementation of ISO/PAS 45005:2020 framework helps establish procedures and policies that help create a hygienic and safe workplace. 

It can also assist with brand trust and integrity, assuring customers and suppliers that management systems are reflecting the requirements of an internationally recognized Standard. 

Operating in this new environment requires everyone to do their part. Implementing a health and safety management system that takes specific COVID-19 risks into account is essential to create a safe workplace for all involved.

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