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ISO 45001 - Context of the Organization

18 December 2017
Context is one of the corner stones of the revision and potentially generated the highest number of questions from clients. In response to these questions we have created this article.

As with the other recently revised ISO management standards (ISO 9001:2015 / ISO 14001:2015) the context is one of the corner stones of the revision and potentially generated the highest number of questions from clients. In response to these questions we have created this article.

The context of the organization is a consideration of the internal and external influences the organization is required/chooses to respond to in relation to the OHS management system. The influences can be positive or negative and may come from a range of sources.

If we start with the organization as it stands now; consider the current situation of the organization and ask:

  • why do we do this?
  • what is the intended outcome / benefit?
  • Where and who is the requirement coming from?
  • how do we meet / deliver this requirement?
  • how do we know it has been successful in achieving the intended outcome?
  • what if hasn’t delivered what was required – what happens next?

The above should help you identify the internal and external issues faced by the organization. Examples may include:

External

  • Legal and statutory requirements
  • Cultural, regional and local issues
  • Key industry drivers
  • Competition and market conditions

Internal

  • Organization governance and structure
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Existing knowledge of product / services / activities
  • Existing arrangements with workers
  • Culture
  • Strategy of the organization
  • Policies and objectives.
  • Group organizations
  • Existing technologies, techniques and resources
  • Workers

These are just a few examples of what may apply, but all organizations are individual even if they operate in similar circumstances or industries.

Consideration of the above will aid the identification of interested parties and if you then ask the questions identified in the earlier section, the process for the context has been established. Decisions must be made as to which of the identified needs or expectations are or could become statutory or other requirements.

Scope of the OHS management system

The scope can only be determined once the context has been considered. The scope will need to be documented information within the management system and must be factual statement representing the operations included in the OHS system.
 
We hope this very brief overview has been useful in clarifying what could be required to meet some of the requirements of the new ISO 45001 standard.

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