Along with maintaining its certification to ISO 14001:2015 for its environmental management system, First Balfour has also migrated to ISO 45001:2018 for its occupational health and safety (OHS) management system.
Published in 2018, ISO 45001 replaces occupational health and safety assessment series (OHSAS) 18001 as an international consensus standard for workplace safety and health management programs. Through this new standard, OHS management is integrated more fully into an organization’s overall goals, objectives and processes.
“These certificates reaffirm First Balfour’s commitment to continually improving its management systems by keeping abreast with the latest global standards. We are positive that our ESH [environment, safety and health] standards and practices will enable us to continue being the partner of choice in the Philippine construction industry,” said ESH head Reynold Arce.
The key difference which sets ISO 45001 apart from OHSAS 18001 is the more proactive stance of the new standard. It highlights a preventive process that requires hazard risks to be addressed before they cause incidents, unlike OHSAS 18001 which only focuses on hazard control. It puts emphasis on the active involvement of leadership and worker participation in safety education and training, thereby creating a positive safety culture that goes far beyond regulatory compliance.
The eight-month campaign on the transition began in April with all core business employees undergoing an ISO 45001 awareness course which was fully delivered online via Workday. As the new standard follows the same high-level structure framework and shares about 50% of its language with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, the transition to ISO 45001 has been relatively seamless for First Balfour despite the limitations brought about by community quarantine protocols.
The two-day surveillance audit on Oct. 20-21 was conducted remotely and involved online interviews with various divisions and departments of the organization. Results of the audit include three minor nonconformities on documented information and four opportunities for improvement (OFI), all of which were closed upon the submission of a corrective action plan on Oct. 28. TÜV SÜD also found three OFIs during its on-site audit of the D&L project site in Sto. Tomas, Batangas on Nov. 12. (Story/Photos by: Dolly Pasia-Ramos)