As most organisations in the building and construction industry will have experienced at some stage, requirements for various ISO-certifications continue to increase, mainly the more common certifications are required, Quality (ISO9001), Environment (ISO14001) and Safety (AS/NZS4801 or ISO45001).
Requirements for certification are traditionally driven by Government Departments, such as the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT), regulators (SafeWork SA, as a pre-requisite for certain classes of asbestos-removal licences for example) as well as many of the tier 1 & 2 builders. We spoke with Martin Hollebrandse, Certification Manager at ATLAS Certification, one of the fastest growing certification bodies in South Australia, servicing many organisations in the building, construction, civil and associated industries and operating from its office within the Master Builders SA office on South Terrace.
What should people consider when selecting a certification body?
The first consideration should be if the certification body is accredited by JAS-ANZ. This is the only way to guarantee it’s acceptance by all relevant stakeholders, including DIT and Safework SA.
There is no equivalent or universally accepted alternative to JAS-ANZ accredited certification. But it is also important to select a certification body that you are comfortable working with.
When making your selection, you are entering into a long-term relationship and it is important that
the people you work with understand your business and are committed to provide you with the best possible service. All accredited certifiers may ultimately issue that all-important piece of paper to confirm you are certified, but the journey to that point and the value-add that the assessment process can deliver is often underestimated.
What is the difference between AS/NZS4801 and the new ISO45001 standards?
Typically, migration to ISO45001 will not require a total overhaul of the OHS management system. There is a shift in focus though. ‘Risk’ needs to be understood by an organisation more broadly, not just focussing on direct safety-hazards, but also the ‘risk’ of controls not functioning as intended or inadvertent breaches of regulations and other compliance-requirements for example.
ISO45001 also puts responsibility and accountability clearly at the highest level within an organisation and there are numerous requirements in the new standard that point to top-management. There are also increased requirements for consultation and participation of workers. Requirements for processes like setting objectives and taking corrective action after incidents and other non-conformances are more clearly defined and may require updating to ensure a smooth transition (formally referred to a migration) to the new standard.
Do all organisations currently certified to AS4801 have to move to ISO45001?
Yes. With very few exceptions, all existing AS4801 certifications will become invalid on July 13, 2023. Any organisation that has not transitioned its
certification by then, will no longer have valid safetycertification in place. There is a short grace period for organisations to transition, but in the interim their certification will be considered invalid.
Can a certification body assist us in getting ready for certification?
To ensure the impartiality and objectivity of the certification process, accredited certification bodies are not allowed to provide consultative services to organisations preparing for certification.
We cannot develop any parts of the system of our clients or provide any template documentation, however we can provide advice in terms of explaining the requirements for certification in general. We often find that organisations ‘over-develop’ their systems as a way to ensure compliance, when they are not quite sure about what is actually required. When we then explain the requirements and go through things with them, either during a pre-audit GAPreview or as part of the actual audit, they often realise there are simpler and more effective ways of doing things.
We pro-actively engage with our clients to make them understand and improve their management systems to work for them. A good management system should be seen as a valuable asset, not as a collection of paperwork to keep your auditor happy.
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