How OH&S Management System (ISO 45001) can support Human Safety after production restart (COVID 19)

At the end of the day, the goals are simple: Safety & SecurityJodi Rell

A parent saves the child from any kind of injury. We protect our mobile phones by using the screen guard and cover. Many car owners don’t remove the plastic cover from the seat to avoid any dirt. At home, we cover the food utensils to protect it from dust and insects. Similarly, in an organization, the health and safety of every employee are ensured.

Safety is paramount for every human being. In an organizational setup, it is the responsibility of the top management to ensure that every employee and relevant interested parties are working under safe and secured work environment.

During the unprecedented circumstances arising out of COVID 19, the organizations are taking utmost care while restarting their operations. As per government authorities, the onus lies on the employer to ensure the safety of their employees from this pandemic.

Although there are a variety of factors which are impacting the organizations while restarting the production again, the focus of this article is primarily on Human Safety.

There is only ONE key health issue which can happen after restart i.e. infected to Coronavirus! The fundamental Law of protection is: Neither get yourself infected nor infect others

As per ISO 45001: 2018, Clause 3.0, there are few definitions related to OH&S (Occupational Health & Safety)

Participation: involvement in decision-making

Consultation: seeking views before making a decision

Contractor: external organization providing services to the organization in accordance with agreed specifications, terms and conditions

Injury and ill health: adverse effect on the physical, mental or cognitive condition of a person

Hazard: source with a potential to cause injury and ill-health

Incident: occurrence arising out of, or in the course of, work that could or does result in injury and ill-health

Possible ways to get infected:

  • from suppliers/contractors
  • while travelling by public transport
  • by a colleague at the workplace
  • by neighbours
  • by local vendor: Car Washer, Vegetable/Milk/Newspaper Supplier, Maids, Shop vendor etc.
  • Airconditioning system in the Organization

What can be the impact if not managed effectively:

  • Healthy employees may also get infected
  • Severe action from Government authority like the closure of the organization, penalty
  • Loss of production
  • Loss of customer/Business
  • Loss of sale resulting in low profitability
  • Employee morale
  • Confidence gap among relevant interested parties

Role of Leadership:

  • Frequent management reviews
  • Identify the possible ways by which anyone can get infected & take action
  • Regular consultation & participation with employees and relevant interested parties like Contractors, suppliers, legal bodies etc.
  • Deployment of adequate resources
  • Take quick decisions and actions
  • Building the morale of the employees and relevant interested parties
  • Ensuring the effectiveness of the change management process

How the OH&S Management system can support:

There is no “one-size-fits-all” method to deal with this situation as each business may have unique operating needs. The possible actions will depend upon the context of the organization and their internal & external issues.

PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) offers a systematic and comprehensive approach to understand the possible challenges to human safety, ways to analyse it, take actions and periodically review its effectiveness.

PDCA approach:


  1. Review and amend (if needed) the OH&S policy as per the present scenario
  2. Define objective to ensure ZERO case of COVID 19 in the organization
  3. Review existing OH&S (Occupational Health & Safety) objectives
  4. Review the context of the organization and issues in the light of Coronavirus
  5. Review existing roles, responsibilities and authorities
  6. Review training needs and plans new training as per the existing context
  7. Review existing communication process (Internal and External)
  8. Review the implication and potential consequences of not implementing desired practices
  9. Review of Risk analysis and hazards like (Bullying, working hours, victimization, the physical condition of the workplace, human factors, emergency preparedness, safety at workplace etc.)


  1. Establish new objectives based on the existing context
  2. Analyse the existing context of the organization, related issues and possible risks related to the virus by consultation and participation of worker representative
  3. Redefine role, responsibility and authority as per available manpower and their skillset
  4. Identify new training which is relevant at this point of time and conduct them like how to protect ourselves from the virus, how to remain healthy, revised emergency preparedness, Safety training like how to work on machines, how to meet known/unknown persons etc.
  5. Revise communication process (what, when, with whom, how) for sharing amended objectives, roles, responsibilities and authorities to all interested parties like outsourcing, contractors, procurement in the user-friendly native language as it is critical for keeping the high morale of employees as well as fulfilling new health guidelines by legal bodies.
  6. Consistent communiqué aids not only to train workforces on best practices but also to dissipate myths and groundless rumour, around the Covid-19 itself and its probable influence on the place of work.
  7. Conduct risk analysis (temporary / Permanent) and take actions like emergency preparedness, social distancing, rotation of manpower, how to use canteen facility, availability of medical aids/PPE’s, rapid action team formation, Sanitization/fumigation, discrimination based on gender/religion/Disease, how to handle waste disposal, fake self-declaration, Rumour etc.
  8. Take actions based on the hierarchy of controls
  9. Some of the possible actions include Medical insurance to be mandatory for everyone coming inside the factory premises including interested parties, Self-declaration about health, Effective visitor management, Prefer stairways, Use elbow/arms to open door or lift, Prefer e Meeting, Bring lunch from home, No water / Food / Stationary sharing, Cough/sneeze on the crook of the elbow or tissue paper, In public, make sure everyone is wearing a mask, Avoid going to different departments/floors, Preferably leave bag/shoes outside of your home, In a shared cab, open window and avoid AC


  1. Whether new objectives are set and they are effective.
  2. Whether an action was taken on the preset context and how it is helping the organization
  3. Whether the amended roles, responsibilities and authorities have started yielding the results like improvement in employee morale and their safety from the Pandemic
  4. Verify the effectiveness of the training about human life and safety in terms of objectives.
  5. Conduct employee and interested party’s satisfaction survey to check the effectiveness of the communication process
  6. Check the impact of action taken based on the risk analysis like availability of medicines, PPE’s, Sanitization/fumigation etc.
  7. Conduct safety audit internally and from the third party to check the effectiveness
  8. Review the performance of OH&S in the management review and share the output with all relevant stakeholders like workers, contractors, suppliers etc.


  1. Continually improve the safety and health of each employee
  2. Review Risk analysis and related objectives based on the results

Benefits of effective OH&S Management System:

  1. Fulfilment of legal requirements and achievement of OH&S objectives
  2. High morale of employees and relevant stakeholders
  3. Business continuity
  4. Achievement of OH&S objectives
  5. Continual improvement of OH&S


  1. For how long the safety of employees will remain the topmost priority of top management?
  2. Whether management will continue to ensure sanitization and social distancing once an organization start functioning fully?
  3. Who will take care of the health and expenses of the contractual employees in-case they get infected to COVID 19 while working?


ISO 45001: 2018

ISO 9001: 2015

IATF 16949: 2016

This is the 56th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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