Web ExclusiveThe world will soon have a new global standard for occupational health and safety. Earlier this summer the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved the creation of a new project committee to develop an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS).

The standard is intended to provide governmental agencies, industry, and others with effective, usable guidance for improving worker safety around the world.

The work on the standard will be overseen by ISO Project Committee (PC) 283, Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements.

317 million accidents occur on the job annually; many of these resulting in extended absences from work.

It is hoped that the future ISO standard will provide an international framework for OH&S best practice, and help prevent and reduce work-related injuries, diseases, and deaths worldwide.

The secretariat of ISO/PC 283 has been assigned to the British Standards Institution, and its first meeting is expected to be held on 21-25 October 2013 in London, United Kingdom.

"The economic burden of poor occupational safety and health practices is estimated at 4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product each year, according to ILO", commented Charles Corrie, Secretary of ISO/PC 283. "Employers face costly early retirements, loss of skilled staff, absenteeism, and high insurance premiums due to work-related accidents and diseases. The future ISO standard has the potential to improve occupational health and safety management on a global level."

Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety