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What to be aware of when implementing ISO 45001 in the electronics manufacturing industry

Given the dangers of working with electric and electronic modules and circuitry and operating machinery that heats and cools to extreme temperatures, the electronics manufacturing industry is expected to be particularly health and safety conscious and therefore sets a special set of challenges when tackling an ISO 45001:2018 implementation.  So, how should an electronics manufacturer tackle ISO 45001, what special considerations need to be taken, and what areas require special attention?

Implementing ISO 45001: Where to begin

In the previous article: 11 occupational health and safety principles and how to apply them in your ISO 45001 project, we considered the general OH&S (operational health and safety) principles that should underpin your OHSMS (Occupational Health and Safety Management System). Of course, the same strategy will need to be used when establishing an OHSMS in an electronics manufacturing business as any other, such as capturing legislation, using corrective action, internal audit, and utilizing employee engagement – all elements we have spoken of in previous blog articles, but what specific areas of concern should an electronics manufacturing organization pay special attention to?

  • Identification of restricted areas and machinery: In this industry you will find a variety of special equipment, from freezers to ovens, from solder wave machines to chip application apparatus, which operate at extremely high temperatures, as well as standard hand tools such as soldering irons and heat guns. In such an environment it is critical for OH&S that restricted areas are clearly defined, and that only operators with appropriate training are involved in the use of the respective machines.
  • Competence and awareness: In the article The importance of awareness training in ISO 45001 we considered the impact of training and awareness on OH&S. With the specialized machinery and inherent element of risk within this sector, this is particularly important, with the use of protective clothing, safety glasses, and protective footwear as important as operational knowledge of the machinery itself. In terms of competence, it is critical that all employees are trained to operate the machinery; that skills, experience, and education are assessed; and that actions are taken to establish and maintain them accordingly.
  • COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health): All legislation is important, but many hazardous substances are required in an electronics manufacturing environment. Ensure they are logged, controlled in locked cabinets where appropriate, and marked clearly with data sheets held and all elements of COSHH legislation met. The consequences of improper use of hazardous materials are great, and great care should be taken over this subject.
  • Participation and consultation: This element is extremely important in the electronics manufacturing sector. Given the range of activities and amount of machinery operating at any given time, cooperation and knowledge sharing between employees and the OH&S administrators or team is vital. You can read more about this topic in the article How to meet participation and consultation requirements in ISO 45001

So, will identification of and work on these key elements help our OH&S performance?

Ensuring continual improvement

Concentrating on the above elements will help the OH&S performance within your electronics manufacturing organization, but you must remember to execute the basic clauses of the standard also. Ensure your OHSMS is built on the core principles of identification and mitigation of risk, sharing of knowledge and information, and effective root cause and corrective action to correct and prevent reoccurrence of incidents and accidents. Use consultation amongst employees with experience in the electronics manufacturing industry and ensure strong leadership and communication is demonstrated to provide a culture of safety. Most importantly, ensure that the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” cycle is used to improve your OH&S results with defined strategies that are planned, executed, measured, and improved, and your employees will benefit.

Why not use our free  Gap Analysis Tool to measure your OHSMS against the standard?

Advisera John Nolan
John Nolan
John Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Leaders and Managers in the United Kingdom, and Prince 2 accredited with a background in Engineering and Electronics and Data Storage and Transfer. Having studied and qualified as both a Mechanical and Electronic Engineer, he has spent the last 15 years designing and delivering Quality Systems and projects across many sectors in the UK, including both national and local government.