How can personal certificates help your company’s health & safety?

Updated: July 10, 2023.

If your company is in the process of establishing an OH&SMS (Operational Health and Safety Management System) certified according to ISO 45001, or already has one, then all of the assistance you can harness to attain and maintain good performance is most welcome. Whatever the size of your organization, you will almost certainly have an employee base with various skillsets and qualifications, whether gained through formal education, previous workplaces, or during employment with your organization. So, given that this is almost a “hidden” advantage for many businesses, is there a way that we can harness these skills and qualifications to benefit the company’s OH&SMS?

Specific certifications for improving the performance of the organization’s OH&SMS include:
  • Project management
  • Identification of risk and opportunity
  • Internal auditor training
  • Day-to-day roles and responsibilities

Assessing the potential of employee capability

Employees with personal qualifications and certifications are a huge asset to any organization, but can often be overlooked when an organization plans a project, especially in an age where outsourcing tasks has become standard in many sectors. It does, however, make good business sense for any organization to assess the personal certifications and qualifications of its workforce, as in many cases these skills and experience can be used to improve the performance of your organization’s OH&SMS. In a previous article, How to ensure your ISO 45001 investment is profitable, we looked at the factors that can ensure the profitability of an ISO 45001 project, but perhaps assessing the skillset of your employee base should be the starting point here, to ensure that your organization does not hire external help that technically may not be required. You may only need help from an online resource or documentation toolkit to assist with your implementation.

Specific certifications for improving the performance of the OH&SMS

This is why it makes sense to do a skillset “Gap Analysis” when the implementation, roles, and responsibilities of your OH&SMS are set out, in order to verify whether or not any of the key tasks can be undertaken by your existing employees who may already have certifications of their own. So, what types of specific certifications can improve the performance of the organization’s OH&SMS in this context? Let us examine the possibilities:

  • Project management: In the previous article Who is the ideal project manager for your ISO 45001 project? we considered the best person to manage your implementation, if your organization is at the implementation stage. In modern business, project management certifications such as PRINCE2 and AGILE, among others, are extremely common, because many individuals seek such certifications for personal development reasons and to increase their skillsets. The likelihood is that you may have employees with project management experience already, and if utilized correctly, this can bring a huge benefit and cost savings to the establishment of your OH&SMS.
  • Identification of risk and opportunity: Modern businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of identifying risk and opportunity, so it is possible that someone in your organization may have undergone training and certification against the ISO 31000 Risk Management standard, or another relevant business standard. If this is the case, this experience can prove invaluable during the evaluation of both strategic and operational risks within your OH&SMS, thereby improving performance and allowing risk to be managed and mitigated to the benefit of the whole workforce. The article What are the new requirements for risks and opportunities according to ISO 45001? can assist you with this topic.
  • Internal auditor training: Again, it is possible that some of your employees may have internal auditing experience and certifications. If this is OH&S (operational health and safety) related, that is excellent news, but even employees with quality or financial-based internal auditing certifications and experience can be a benefit to your OH&SMS. Examine the certifications and skills that these employees have, and determine the gap that remains to bring their qualifications in line with your OH&SMS internal audit requirements. This will likely be more efficient than training an employee from scratch, and certainly will be more cost effective than hiring an external auditor. You can find more information from the article What competences should an ISO 45001 internal auditor have?
  • Day-to-day roles and responsibilities: In the article How roles and responsibilities have changed in DIS/ISO 45001 we examined the day-to-day duties that should exist in your system. By examining the certifications held by your workforce against this framework of roles and responsibilities, you may well find that there are crossovers between the certifications that exist and the requirements of your OH&SMS. Again, this should provide definite opportunities for you to integrate the skills and qualifications of existing employees into your OH&SMS workings, which will not only have cost benefits, but will also increase the levels of knowledge, competence, and awareness within your workforce – a critical issue that we examined in the article The importance of awareness training in ISO 45001.

Maximizing the benefit of your employees’ personal certifications

As we can see, there are many opportunities for the organization to marry up the skillsets and qualifications of employees to the benefit of the OH&SMS. However, it is vital that the organization takes the time to assess the system’s needs against these certifications, and discuss with the employees what is possible and to what extent they are able to work on this project, considering current work commitments. Regardless, it is clear that if existing workloads can be adjusted, most organizations can derive huge benefits from utilizing the skillsets of certified employees to the benefit of the OH&SMS, even in the fields of training and communication, as well as the elements mentioned above. Why not examine your workforce’s certifications today, engage with your people, and plan the way forward – whatever the stage of your OH&SMS implementation or operation? The benefits are there for all to see.

This ISO 45001 Internal Auditor course will teach you or your employees everything needed about the ISO 45001 and how to perform an internal audit.

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.