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The proven power of occupational health and safety standards

Find out how adopting occupational health and safety (OHS) standards and certification enhances both employee welfare and operational excellence.

If your organization is concerned with occupational health and safety (OHS) and reducing incidents of workplace injury and illness, then it's valuable to foster an understanding of the effectiveness of health and safety best practices.

In this article, delve into the realm of occupational health and safety and consider the journey your organization can undertake to strike a harmonious balance between employee welfare and operational excellence.

Occupational health and safety is crucial in the modern work environment

In today's dynamic work environment, the welfare of employees has taken centre stage like never before. Occupational health and safety has emerged as a crucial pillar that must be upheld to protect workforces and maintain operational integrity.

Amidst this commitment, organizations grapple with the complex challenge of safeguarding employee well-being while striving to curtail workplace incidents.

This is where the integration of health and safety management standards plays a pivotal role, effectively reducing the occurrences of workplace injuries and illnesses within your organization.

Safety vs. performance

Managing health and safety at work is a priority for any organization that values its people. And as millions of working days are lost to work-related loss and injury each year, this prioritization comes with undeniable business benefits.

Organizations implement occupational health and safety management systems to set minimum standards of practice to protect their employees. But can the benefits be proven? And is there any correlation between implementing safety management standards, operational performance, and organizational success?

Evidence from new research

Research from Harvard Business School (HBS) published in 2022 provides evidence that occupational health and safety management systems—such as OHSAS 18001 and its successor ISO 45001—are effective at improving the health and safety of the workforce.

The study looked at the impact of OHSAS 18001 on workplace health and safety in the USA. In particular, whether organizations that achieved certification under this standard had safer workplaces compared to others, of comparable size and industry, who had not been certified.

Key findings

HBS reported that organizations that adopted the management system standards saw cases of injury and illness decline by 20% compared with a matched sample of non-certified workplaces.

This result held across all injury types, regardless of severity.

These detailed findings show real proof that adopting a safety management system certification brings positive results for people, organizations, and society as a whole.

Integrating safety management standards with your organizational goals

Integrating safety management standards goes beyond protecting your workforce and ensuring compliance—it also aligns seamlessly with your broader organizational objectives.

By prioritizing the well-being of employees and minimizing workplace incidents, your organization can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and overall long-term success.

A safety-oriented culture significantly contributes to building a positive reputation, fostering stakeholder trust, and creating a foundation for enduring prosperity.