EPC-UK announces health and safety migration to ISO 45001:2018

EPC-UK, the commercial explosives and blasting services specialist, has announced that it has begun its migration process to ISO 45001:2018.

A business already accredited with OHSAS 18001 - a British Standard for occupational health and safety systems - EPC-UK will implement the new international standard for health and safety at work by the 12th March 2021. The new standard has been developed by national and international standards committees, independent of the Government, to further ensure that companies provide safe and healthy workplaces.

With figures reported by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) confirming that more than 7,600 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases (equating to over 2.78 million every year), it is fully recognised that the effects incidents have on employees, employers and the wider economy is significant. Associated issues can also lead to early retirements, staff absences and rising insurance premiums.

By successfully implementing the new structure, EPC-UK will be able to demonstrate compliance with health and safety law. Furthermore, working to the standard will play a valuable role in the company’s delivery of customer and worker protection, whilst providing a level playing field for trade with other countries.

Commenting, Ben Williams, Directeur Zone Europe Nord at EPC-UK said: “Occupational health and safety is embedded into our company’s culture. As such, we already have the accreditations and systems in place to migrate from one standard to the other, smoothly and seamlessly.

“Our team is working hard behind the scenes and has successfully identified key differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 that will help us further improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions.”

The changeover will require senior management to take a stronger top-down leadership role, which in turn will drive performance and better protect employees.

Ben continues: “This new standard places a greater importance on identifying and assessing risks, and putting in place controls to prevent these risks from occurring.

“Whilst complying to OHSAS 18001 enabled us to focus on controlling hazards, ISO 45001 encourages a more 'risk-based thinking' approach, with strategies devised to remedy a broader range of risks before they materialise. As a result, we’ll be placing stronger health and safety emphasis on planning and setting objectives; as well as resource availability, staff responsibilities and relevant KPIs.

“We’re embracing the transition and look forward to having the standard fully implemented, as the evolved structure fits well with our company culture. At EPC-UK, we never think of health and safety in purely physical terms. Mental well-being is a key priority for us too and with ISO 45001 we’ll have a more flexible standard that will enable us to continue our care of employees, in terms of both body and mind.”