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Vehicle exhaust emissions on a busy roadThe British Safety Council has recently identified that air pollution is linked to 36,000 early deaths a year in the UK. They are calling on all employers with workers who regularly work outside or drive heavy goods vehicles on busy roads with high levels of pollution, to take measures to safeguard their employees from exposure.

From a small trial carried out, the most affected employees were a construction worker and HGV driver. The site engineer was found to have air pollution exposure levels six times higher than that of the office worker.

Similarities are being made between lung damage and recent compensation claims made by workers suffering from asbestosis and the potential risk of claims that could follow from high levels of pollution in some of our cities.

Currently the government is not demanding that employers address this health hazard. However, an app launched by King’s College London for the British Safety Council’s “Time to Breathe” campaign is available to outdoor workers across London to monitor the users exposure to pollution and when the amount exceeds the limits for nitrogen dioxide, particles and ozone, the user is notified. This will help employers and workers to act and reduce exposure by reducing strenuous work, putting up barriers or working away from traffic until levels improve.

The British Safety Council is calling on government to recognise exposure to ambient air pollution as an occupational health hazard and adopt the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) exposure guidelines for nitrogen dioxide, particles and ozone.

How long will it be before the government is forced to recognise the WHO exposure guidelines?

Will employers face huge claims for compensation in the future by not acting now to protect their workers?

If your employees work outdoors, it may be worth carrying out a risk assessment and taking action to limit their exposure to pollution before new legislation is in place. This could also help reduce the working days lost through work-related illness due to respiratory problems.

Health and safety for your employees
Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive for 2107/18 show:
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 2,595 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2016)
  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2016/17)
‘Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence’.

As an employer you are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of your employees and others who may be affected by your business whilst they are in the workplace.

Organisations that take their health and safety responsibilities seriously and have a management system that will minimise their risk of breaching health and safety regulations, will limit the occurrence of fines and compensation claims that can be handed down by the courts.

Health and safety management systems
iso45001-ukasThere are many ways to implement a management system into your organisation to identify and control injury and illness in your workforce. One of the most widely recognised management systems is OHSAS 18001, soon to become ISO 45001. This provides an internationally recognised framework to enable organisations to assess, manage and reduce the health and safety risks faced by their employees.

Achieving certification to OHSAS 18001 (ISO 45001) by an independent third-party certification body that has been audited by UKAS will demonstrate your commitment and competence to improve the health and safety of your workforce. It will enable you to meet legal obligations for your industry and minimise the risk of accidents, court cases, fines or imprisonment that can be imposed on owners and directors if negligence is proved.

OHSAS 18001 changing to ISO 45001
The process of migration is currently underway to move to the ISO platform bringing OHSAS 18001 in line with other internationally recognised ISO standards.
The 3-year migration process will end on 12th March 2021 and organisations with OHSAS 18001 certification will have to be re-certified to the new standard by this date.

Find out more about the migration and what to do next: www.acsregistrars.com/ohsas-18001
ISO-certification-business-man-on-screenISO certification is suitable for organisations of all sizes, sectors and locations (international). It could be argued that gaining certification is a necessity rather than an option for businesses who need to demonstrate their credibility to deliver quality products and customer service consistently to recognised standards. In fact, some customers (buyers) in the public and private sectors will insist on ISO certification when requesting tenders from suppliers.

Whether your customers demand certification or not, the process of gaining ISO certification will improve your businesses processes, procedures and documentation to make your organisation more resilient, efficient and profitable.

Continuous monitoring and improvement through the continuous assessment process will give you an edge over your competitors and help to retain and acquire new business.

ISO certification is carried out by independent third parties called Certification Bodies (CBs). Their assessors will approve your processes, procedures and documentation on a 3-year certification cycle.

What is UKAS accredited ISO certification?
UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) is recognised by the UK government and by EU member states governments and are responsible for (quoted from their website):

 “determining, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of organisations such as those offering testing, calibration and certification services.”

OHSAS 18001 UKAS (1)Not all Certification Bodies are UKAS accredited. Only CBs that have been assessed to provide certification following regular audits by UKAS to ensure impartiality and competence can include the “crown” and “tick” on their clients’ certificates.

Using a UKAS accredited CB means your certification has instant recognition throughout the EU.

How to achieve ISO certification?
You can prepare your organisation for certification using internal resources with the relevant knowledge and experience or by engaging external consultants.
Once you are satisfied that you have implemented the processes and documentation needed to meet the ISO standard you have selected, you can then instruct a Certification Body to arrange a stage 1 audit. This audit will check your compliance and identify areas for improvement.

Any nonconformities that have been identified in stage 1 are then corrected ready for the stage 2 audit. Providing the stage 2 audit is successfully completed without any further major nonconformities, you will then be issued with your certificate.

Recertification is carried out every 3 years and you will be audited to check your performance against targets and objectives set in your last audit.

To ensure you are continuing to meet the required standard and are maintaining a strategy of continual improvement, it is recommended that surveillance audits are carried out annually before your next 3-year recertification. These audits will focus on business performance, evaluation of your management system and identifying any improvements that could be made.

You can read a more detailed breakdown of what is included in each audit on our web page: http://www.acsregistrars.com/objectives-of-an-audit

What is ISO?
ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) was established in 1947 with the aim of unifying industrial standards around the world. It is totally independent and not under any governmental control. The organisation today has members from 164 countries and has its head office in Geneva, Switzerland.

There are numerous ISO standards and organisations can select the standard or standards most relevant to their business. Some of the more recognised ones are:
  • ISO 9001 for quality management.
  • ISO 14001 to improve your environmental management.
  • ISO 27001 to secure your organisations information and electronic data.
  • ISO 45001 (OHSAS 18001) for occupational health and safety.
If you need certification, already have certification and need to renew it or would like to discuss how a surveillance audit could improve your business and prepare you for your next certification audit, please call 0121 214 2299 and talk to one of our team.
ISO-14001-climate-changeThe words “climate emergency” will be heard increasingly across the media as the government urges us all to do more to reduce harmful emissions.
A climate emergency was declared by Britain’s parliament, a world first, recently followed by Ireland’s parliament.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we have just 12 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change before we reach the critical tipping point. The report investigated the effects of an increase in global temperatures from 1.5C to 2C. We are currently heading towards an increase of 3C.

At the current rate of global warming the worst effects of climate change will take place between 2030 and 2052 if no action is taken to reduce emissions.

The impact of climate change will be felt by businesses around the world as the effects disrupt the economic performance of global corporations. Causes will range from extreme weather disrupting supply chains to stricter climate regulations and the increasing price of coal, oil and gas. Moves towards clean energy could also have an impact on manufacturing costs and the effects of global warming will touch every area of our society.

A recent report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) covering 215 of the world’s largest corporations found that they could potentially face costs related to climate change in the region of £790 million in the decades ahead.

ISO 14001 certification to help combat the effects of climate change
ISO 14001 can help businesses to reduce their environmental impact by helping to identify areas of improvement.

Reducing waste, using clean energy, installing effective insulation and fitting energy efficient lighting are some of the actions that will not only help the environment but also reduce your operating costs and save money.

Demonstrating your commitment to the environment will give you an advantage over competitors when tendering for new business.

Recycling and using recyclable materials can help to conserve materials and produce less waste.

Engaging your employees and making it easy for them to recycle materials and conserve energy will benefit your business and improve employee morale.

ISO 14001 risk assessments to plan for the challenges of a changing climate
The recent revisions to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 include an increasing emphasis on risk assessments and a culture of risk-based thinking. Using the framework of your ISO 14001 Environmental Management System to identify areas for improvement over the next 10 years will help your business to survive the challenges and financial risks of climate change. Some of the risks include:
  • The effect of energy costs rising.
  • The risk of extreme weather events disrupting the supply chain.
  • New regulations and tighter controls on emissions.
  • Tax increases to curb emissions.
  • Transport cost increases.
Initiating a plan to minimise the risks and identify benefits will help your business continue to grow through these challenging times.

To find out about ISO 14001 certification please call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.
Stanmore-construction-company-case-studySuccessful certification of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 and OHSAS 18001 (ISO 45001) audited by
ACS Registrars Ltd

Stanmore Ltd is a rapidly expanding business in a demanding market with tight timescales and a high demand for certification standards to ISO9001:2015, ISO14001:2015, OHSAS18001:2013 and ISO27001:13

Stanmore is one of the UK’s leading Drylining and Facade Specialist Subcontractors. With an annual turnover of £135m they have worked with the majority of the largest Developers and Main Contractors in the South East of England.

The company is certified as follows:
  • Specialist façade, fitting out and dry lining providers.
  • Specialist Glazing fitting out providers.
  • Installers of structural and architectural steelwork including stainless steel.
  • Fabricators of structural and architectural steelwork including stainless steel.
Stanmore combines its over 50 years of experience in construction methods with the acquired expertise to become one of the most recognized brand names in today's Market.

As a result, they are not only able to offer a range of drywall partitions, wall lining, screed and ceilings but also lightweight steel frames, insulated external render systems, through colour render, rain screen cladding systems, windows & doors, copings and fascia’s.

ISO 9001
Stanmore’s quality management system tied together all the operating systems and forms. Producing unified procedures and records so that on the site level, each site is using the same documentation and procedures. This projects a positive image of the company so that a client may have several sites running at the same time but the client sees the same document format and presentation.

Improvements have also been made in having this unified approach to not only the management of the business, but also the project on site and at the fabrication stage with regards to the metalwork part of the organisation.

ISO 14001
Stanmore work on a diversity of construction projects, from residential houses and apartments to complex schools, hospitals, community buildings, industrial warehousing and high-rise commercial / residential units.

Having the correct processes in place means their clients can feel confident that their projects are completed with the environment in mind by reducing waste and recycling materials to meet the requirements of ISO 14001.

OHSAS 18001 (soon to become ISO 45001)

Health and safety is at the top of Stanmore’s agenda. As one of the UK’s largest developers working on diverse projects and employing a range of skilled staff, OHSAS 18001 (ISO 45001) ensures health and safety risks are being assessed and managed.
ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) is probably the most popular and recognised of all the ISO standards used by businesses to demonstrate that they are operating efficiently to provide quality products or services to their customers.

ISO 9001 is one of a range of ISO standards that benefits businesses and institutions by providing audited certification to help them to increase sales and trade at home and abroad. It is often the first of a raft of other standards that a business will use to demonstrate their focus on customer satisfaction.

Other standards regularly combined with ISO 9001 include ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 (ISO 45001) and ISO 27001.

ISO standards are implemented by businesses to provide consistent and measurable management systems that can be used by their customers (buyers) to select suppliers. Achieving an ISO certification such as ISO 9001 will open doors to new customers and markets.

ISO is an international organisation and currently spans 162 member countries which recognise the importance of these standards to increase international trade. ISO, though recognised by the EU is not connected to the EU.

Certification bodies will continue to be audited by UKAS to provide organisations with UKAS accredited certification to help them retain and win new business in international markets.

Whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the UK government will continue to recognise UKAS as the sole national accreditation body and UKAS accredited certification will retain international recognition.

The UK government has confirmed this through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy drafted in a statutory instrument in preparation for a no deal Brexit.

As far as ISO standards are concerned, it is business as usual.

Containers-international-tradeEffects of a no deal Brexit on business
The UK has been granted an extension to Brexit until 31st October 2019. This gives businesses additional time to prepare for a possible no deal.

Some commentators have increased their odds on a no deal resulting from the stalemate in negotiations for Brexit.

We may find that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, exporters will face difficult trading conditions for a while.

Headlines from a variety of forecasters are expecting a downturn in trade due to the disruptions that will be caused at the border and lack of clarity on customs tariffs.

In these circumstances, UK businesses that have an ISO standard such as ISO 9001 can gain advantages over some of their EU competitors that do not. Also, while trade barriers with the EU may lead to a reduced market in the short term, gaining access to new markets outside the EU will support businesses through the Brexit no deal transition.

Your ISO 9001 QMS will provide the framework you need to meet the challenges of a Brexit no deal.

If you have implemented ISO 9001 QMS in your business, you can help to minimise the effect of a no deal because risk assessment is a fundamental part of ISO 9001. Carrying out a Brexit no deal risk assessment will help you to:
  • Identify areas that will impact your business.
  • Analyse solutions.
  • Instigate changes.
Following a no deal, there will probably be an increase in administration costs and more forms to fill in to continue to trade with the EU. As part of your continuous improvements, ISO 9001 will help to streamline your administration and identify unnecessary and time-consuming tasks to free up more time to deal with the extra paperwork.

Leadership from top management and involvement in the businesses management system is one of the new requirements for ISO 9001:2015 (ISO 9001:2008 revised) which will help drive through the changes that will be required to prepare for a no deal.

Get expert help. If you think ISO 9001 would help your business to survive Brexit or if your certification is coming up for renewal and you would like to discuss some of the challenges you may face, call 0121 241 2299 and talk to one of our team.