ISO 45001:2018 Clause 4: Context of the Organisation (Part 1 of 7)

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ISO 45001:2018 Clause 4: Context of the Organisation (Part 1 of 7)

Clause 4 of ISO 45001:2018 focusses the organisation on defining what it is and does, and on what can affect its ability to manage its occupational health and safety responsibilities to achieve desired outcomes.

The organisation must understand the internal and external issues that can impact in a positive or negative manner on its health and safety performance including organisational culture and structure, and the external environment including cultural, social, political, legal, financial, technological, economic, market competition and natural factors of significance to its performance.

The company will be required to identify all relevant internal and external issues including conditions, characteristics or changing circumstances that can affect its occupational health and safety management system and then address those that require further attention.

An understanding of the organisation and its context can be achieved at a strategic level by using techniques such as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, and Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental (PESTLE) analysis.

Being certified to ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 we were fortunate in that we already had developed an understanding of our organisation and its context in order to satisfy the requirements of these two standards. Our context document is based on a PESTLE/SWOT analysis, which we updated to include occupational health and safety issues.

We then had to identify interested parties and their needs and expectations. ISO 45001 defines an interested party or stakeholder as “a person or organisation that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision or activity”.

Obviously, Antaris employees are the most significant interested party where occupational health and safety is concerned but we also had to consider partners (such as SQT Training Ltd), contractors, visitors to our company and the general public.

Once we had determined and assessed our internal and external issues and identified the needs and expectations of relevant interested parties, we then defined the boundaries and applicability of our OH&S management system. In our case the scope of the OH&SMS included the whole organisation, including training and consultancy projects on client sites.

Finally, we were required to establish, implement, maintain and continually improve our OH&S management system, including the processes needed and their interactions. We will describe in subsequent blogs how we went about doing that and how we ensured that OH&S requirements are aligned and integrated with our management practices and business processes.

Submitted by our training partner Antaris

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