I am excited to see a systematic approach to occupational safety and health that integrates these functions into the management of operations.
In my September article, "Moving to an International Standard for Occupational Safety and Health," I promised to review the discussions that took place in Geneva at the ISO international workshop. I'll do that here. Moreover, I won't hold the reader in suspense as to what conclusion was reached in Geneva.
The meeting ended with a majority of the participants recommending that ISO not initiate the development of a standard for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) at this time. While the final decision is complicated by ISO operating procedures and politics, my guess is that ISO will form a study group of some type to further evaluate the issue. Whatever ISO decides, it was clear that an ISO standard at this time is very unlikely. Nevertheless, many countries are plunging ahead on development of their own national standards or guides on occupational health and safety management systems. From a professional point of view, the desired effect -- a systematic approach to occupational health and safety management that is integrated with other business functions -- has been achieved. That is good for the profession and the protection of workers.
ISO International Workshop
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) held what it termed a discussional workshop on the OHSMS issue in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 5,1996. The meeting lasted two days, with more requests for participation than could be accommodated. There were over 300 official participants …