4 crucial techniques for convincing your top management to implement ISO 45001

When you are trying to make the case for implementing an Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS) according to the requirements of ISO 45001:2018, it can be difficult to convince management that this would be a good project to implement at your company. Many managers think that if they are complying with all of the health & safety legal requirements, then there is no benefit to go beyond this and implement an OHSMS.

What information will help you to convince management?

If you find yourself trying to convince management that implementing ISO 45001 is a good idea, here are four crucial techniques you may want to know:

1) Understand the benefits of ISO 45001: It can be difficult to put the benefits of an OHSMS into terms that top management can understand, such as dollars and cents. Because the financial return on investment is difficult to calculate, it can help to focus on the benefits that are presented by implementing ISO 45001. These benefits include helping to maintain compliance with legal requirements, improving the company credibility and image, preventing serious health issues by minimizing hazards, and improving your processes with respect to the health & safety of employees.

To learn more about these benefits, see this previous blog post on 4 key benefits of ISO 45001 for your business.

2) Focus on the safety improvements: Meeting the legal health & safety requirements in your jurisdiction is good, but if you look closely at these requirements, many of them deal with responding to health & safety problems rather than preventing them. While requirements for locking out machinery before service are preventative, other requirements such as the need for first aid personnel and health & safety committees are largely there to deal with industrial accidents after they happen. By using an OHSMS designed according to ISO 45001, you can focus on identifying the risks in your processes so that you can put in place the controls necessary to prevent health & safety problems from occurring, which will lead to financial benefits.

3) Know the financial savings: Even though you may not be able to put an actual dollar value on the financial benefits of ISO 45001, these benefits do exist. By improving the occupational health & safety of your workplace with an OHSMS, you can improve productivity, increase the efficiency of your processes, nurture the loyalty of your employees, and reduce the number of sick days that are taken in your organization. Investing in better personal safety initiatives and training can also transfer to savings by reducing payments as a result of health issues or serious injury to employees and subcontractors. This can increase your customer loyalty, due to an enhanced reputation and removal of delays due to accident investigation time. To find out more about these topics, see this previous blog post on How to ensure your ISO 45001 investment is profitable.

4) Learn your local health & safety position: While it is true that no system is perfect, and just implementing an OHSMS will not be able to prevent every industrial accident from happening, there are still benefits to having the management system even if an accident occurs. In the first place, it is likely that the accident will be less severe than if no preventive measures were in place. Secondly, many jurisdictions take into account the existence of an OHSMS when they are investigating a health & safety occurrence. Often, the fines or penalties levied will be lessened because the company has shown due diligence in trying to prevent problems with an adequately implemented OHSMS. This can be a key point for some top management officials.

It is all about the benefit to worker health & safety

Although top management can be focused on the money involved in implementing projects, they also understand that not all benefits can have an exact dollar value assigned. Improving employee health and reducing employee injury is the main priority of the OHSMS, and it can be enough to know that financial savings are likely to be gained from the investment even if the actual dollar value is not known. It is easy to see that fewer worker injuries will lead to reduced time off for the company, and reduced time off will lead to greater efficiency and financial gain.

When it comes down to it, everyone wants to work at a company that is concerned enough to ensure that employees go home safely at the end of the day, and your top management is no different. Focus on the worker safety benefits that an OHSMS brings to all employees, and top management will be able to find how those benefits will lead to financial savings.

To help with your pitch to management, why not check out this free Project proposal for ISO 45001 Implementation

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.