ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 are undergoing significant change intended to improve these standards. The new ISO High Level Structure will align all ISO standards along a common management systems structure and promote integration. The recent US Technical Advisory Group meeting in Orlando, Florida was a particularly enlightening conference for us where US TAG members were able to share their ideas of the way the HLS applies to EHS management Systems.
ISO HLS & EHSMS
An important part of the revision processes is being able to communicate to current and new users how the standards are changing and how these changes will affect an existing EHSMS. This diagram represents how we at ECSI see the developing changes to ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 and the relationships between some of the important clauses of the revised standards.
We are interested in understanding how users of the EHSMS standards feel about the changes and what information they need to begin to plan for the changes to their EHSMS. ECSI will be conducting a short, one hour webinar Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from 10am-11am Central Standard Time. The purpose of the seminar is to provide the current state of the revision process and to discuss how we see the EHSMS standard revisions progressing. If you are interested in participating in one of these webinars send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply with the logon instructions.
My draft was meant to be for the Annex only. It was not intended to be included, or as a supplement to, the normative part of the standard. I offered the draft of the Annex more to stimulate discussion than expecting it to be incorporated in its entirety. As I have said from the beginning. I believe that the HLS should remain largely intact without significant discipline specific additions. Most discipline specific language for clarification of intent should be introduced in the Annex.
I like the idea of working the development process of this and other standards like ISO 14001 from back to front. In other words, let’s work on the Annex (informative part of the standard) first, agree on what we want it to achieve and what the Annex should contain, and then decide what needs to be changed in the normative part of standard to meet the discipline specific outcome we want.
I also understand the desire to use much of Z10 to form the basis for ISO 45001. However, I believe that we can improve upon the ideas presented in Z10 as we develop 45001, especially appendix F and the example risk matrix it contains.
Regarding the question of how opportunities should be addressed in the standard, I believe it matters little where opportunities are addresses. It may be appropriate to address them in both 8 and 10 and maybe a little bit in 6. I do however believe that we need to have a better idea about what we mean by opportunities before we add discipline specific language to the HLS in any or all of those clauses.
I believe there are at least two types of opportunities that can be identified, those being opportunities to reduce risk, and those opportunities that can result in other value enhancement. Sometimes exploiting one type of opportunity comes at the expense of the other. Ice diving is a good example. Personally I think you need to be out of your mind to do it, but some folks find great pleasure in scuba diving below the ice and take every opportunity they can to enjoy it. One of the hazards of ice diving is getting lost under the ice and not being able to return to the hole before your air supply is exhausted. The bigger the hole, the easier it is to find when you want out of the water. But cutting a big hole through 3 foot thick ice is hard and there comes a point where the discomfort in cutting the hole out weights the fun the divers expect to have on their adventure. So the divers manage the likelihood of becoming trapped beneath the ice in other ways, like roping up and having folks at the surface holding the other end of the rope. Managing the risks and enjoyment of an ice dive becomes an optimization problem.
The ISO 45001 standard Annex (either 6, 8 or 10) should include information to help users understand the relationship between risks and opportunities and that there are different types of opportunities they can exploit. Once we have the right language in the annex, we can then think about what changes might be need in the standard itself to make the HLS work for the OH&S discipline. Again this is the back to front approach to standard development I prefer.
If you are living in the North Country as I am, the weather has been a perpetual topic of discussion. Just for fun, a couple of years ago, I decided to start to learn how to harvest ice from our local lake. Last week I got a call from some local divers needing a hole cut in the lake to do a certification ice dive.
Having cut some ice earlier this year to build Ice Henge, I had an idea that cutting a hole in the ice now was not going to be easy. It turned out that the ice on our local lake is almost 3 feet thick and it took over 3 hours to cut a 3′ x 6′ hole. At the time they started diving the outside air temperature was about 9 degrees F and dropping. The entire idea of ice diving offended every sensibility. Its just not right!