Sioen apparel plants in Myanmar and Romania are (will soon be) ISO 45001 certified

Through ISO 45001 certification, we’re enhancing our Occupational Safety and Health Management. We’re mobilising resources, enhancing interregional collaboration and helping to promote sustainable production and products as stated in SDG 12 and 17.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System ISO 45001

ISO 45001 is the new ISO standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S). It has become one of the most eagerly awaited standards in the world, and is set to drastically improve levels of workplace safety. The biggest Sioen apparel production plants are/ will soon be certified according to this standard. Before, they were also OHSAS 18001 certified which demonstrates that they have a system in place for occupational health and safety.

Occupational Health & Safety, a definition

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) "occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards. They define Health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. WHO is addressing all determinants of workers' health, including risks for disease and injury in the occupational environment, social and individual factors, and access to health services.

We see OH&S as a multidisciplinary field of health concerned with enabling all our employees to undertake safely their occupation. It aligns with the promotion of health and safety at work, which is concerned with preventing harm from hazards in the workplace.

What is ISO 45001

ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, offers a single, clear framework for all organisations wishing to improve their OH&S performance. Directed at the top management of an organisation, it aims to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees and visitors. To achieve this, it is crucial to control all factors that might result in illness, injury, and in extreme cases death, by mitigating adverse effects on the physical, mental and cognitive condition of a person – and ISO 45001 covers all of those aspects.

While ISO 45001 draws on OHSAS 18001 – the former benchmark for OH&S – it is a new and distinct standard, not a revision or update, and is due to be phased in gradually over the next three years. Organisations will therefore need to revise their current thinking and work practices in order to maintain organizational compliance. (source)

ISO 45001 draws on OSHAS 18001

OSHAS 18001 followed the Plan-Do-Check-Review cycle, with an emphasis on continual improvement. Topics were:

  • Policy and commitment
  • Hazard identification, risk assessment & risk controls
  • Legal requirements
  • Objectives and Programmes
  • Organisation and personnel
  • Training, Communication and Consultation
  • Documentation and records
  • Operational Controls
  • Emergency Readiness
  • Measurement and monitoring
  • Accident and incident investigation, corrective and preventive action
  • Audit and Review
  • Application and Relevance in the Industry

OHSAS 18001 was cancelled and replaced with ISO 45001. ISO 45001 was published in March 2018 by the International Organisation for Standardisation. Organisations like ours, that are certified OHSAS 18001 can migrate to ISO 45001.

Our Myanmar plat has already migrated and obtained the ISO 45001 certificate. Our Siorom plant is in transition.

ISO 45001 aligned to other ISO standards

ISO 45001 is aligned with other ISO standards. For example in ISO 45001 (safety), ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environmental), section 4 relates to the “context of the organisation”, Section 5 relates to “leadership”, and Section 6 relates to “planning”.

This alignment of sections allows us to more easily adopt the fundamental framework used in all ISO business related performance standards.

The goals of ISO 45001

The goals of ISO 45001 are to provide guidance for the development of a framework where injuries, property damage, and other loss causing incidents can be mitigated. The stated goals of ISO 45001 are:

  • Develop an OH&S policy
  • Have leadership demonstrate commitment to safety
  • Establish systematic processes for safety management
  • Conduct hazard identification efforts
  • Create operational safety controls
  • Increase awareness and knowledge for employees about safety
  • Evaluate OH&S performance and develop plans to improve continuously
  • Establish the necessary competencies
  • Create and foster an OH&S culture within the organisation
  • Ensure employees participate fully and meaningfully in the safety process
  • Meet all legal and regulatory requirements

Requirements organised in Sections

ISO 45001 has 3 sections dedicated to introduction, the purpose, and the terms and definitions. Then, there are seven major sections that contain the actual safety content.

  1. Context of the Organisation
  2. Leadership and Worker Participation
  3. Planning
  4. Support
  5. Operations
  6. Performance Evaluations
  7. Improvement

The appendix of the standard is a guide to implementation for each section and provides a very comprehensive set of instructions about how things can be implemented.