Thought Leadership


Global occupational health and safety standard on horizon to protect workers worldwide

July 3, 2014
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globalThe seeds have been planted and are being cultivated for the development of a global occupational health and safety standard.

I am participating as a U.S. delegate and member of the U.S. leadership team on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to develop the new OH&S standard – ISO 45001.

Tim Fisher, director, Practices and Standards for the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), recently shared an update on the proposed standard, which he said has generated a great deal of interest.

The goal is to provide governmental agencies, industry and other affected stakeholders with effective, usable guidance for improving worker safety worldwide. The work is being overseen by ISO Project Committee (PC) 283, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Requirements. The proposed standard represents one of the most significant consensus standards activities in the history of health and safety and is expected to have far-reaching, positive impacts on OH&S management on a global level.

In December 2013, I attended the first global meeting where experts from 43 different countries laid foundational elements for the standard. The U.S Technical Advisory Group (TAG) comprised of health and safety experts from 100 U.S.-based companies subsequently met in Washington, D.C., to share their insight and provide positioning to the leadership team to frame the U.S. position on important topics. As a member of the U.S. leadership team, I facilitated a discussion on outsourcing, vendor management and contractor control to frame the U.S. perspective on this important topic.

Last month I represented the U.S. at the Global ISO meeting in Casablanca, Morocco. During that meeting, 85 delegates representing 50 countries reviewed more than 1,300 comments received from health and safety professionals around the globe.

The work will continue in September this year when our U.S. TAG group will convene to review the committee draft from the Morocco meeting and prepare additional comments from the U.S. for the ISO.   

We are anticipating one more global meeting this year. The final standard is expected to be completed in 2016.

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