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OH&S - What is ISO 45003:2021?

18 January 2022

Some of you may have heard about a recent guidance standard ISO 45003:2021. This guidance standard has been introduced to support occupational health and safety management of psychological health and safety at work.

What is ISO 45003?

ISO 45003 - Psychological health and safety at work.

These guidelines are there to support managing psychosocial risks in the occupational workplace.

Psychosocial risks are those related to mental health and wellbeing, and this new phrase will become increasingly familiar as the implementation of ISO 45003 gathers momentum.

ISO 45003 is supporting guidance to be used within the existing management standard for Occupation Health & Safety Management, ISO 45001. Please note however that it is not a replacement or revision to the OH&S standard.

What does it aim to help you achieve?

The new guidance is aimed at reducing the negative outcomes for workers, which can include poor health and associated conditions and behaviours, as well as reduced job satisfaction, commitment and productivity.

Therefore, managing psychosocial risks can result in positive outcomes, including improved job satisfaction and therefore increased productivity.

The guidelines give examples of indicators relating to staff behaviours and changes in attitudes that may highlight where workers might require some form of organisational support or changes to existing working practices and processes.

The success of psychosocial risk management depends on commitment from all levels and functions of the organization, and the attitude, approach, and culture.

The structure of the guidance follows the existing structure of ISO 45001:2018 and is therefore designed to enhance and focus on psychosocial risks within the existing system.

Psychological health on par with physical health

It is widely recognised that as a society we need to get better at managing psychosocial risks and effectively addressing mental health issues and this is particularly important and relevant in the workplace due to the sheer amount of time spent at work each day. Psychological health and wellbeing need to be on an equal par to physical safety and injury.

It is beneficial for organisations to understand, develop, and support their workers by considering aspects such as the way work is organised, along with training and awareness for workers to aid recognition of hazards and implement risk reductions.