Creating a healthy and safe work environment

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is high on the list of priorities of every organisation. There is a clear connection between the safety and well-being of personnel on the one hand and the performance of the organisation on the other hand.

 

The international technical committee ISO/TC 283 develops international standards that provide companies with guidelines, requirements and tools for setting up and using an OHS management system. Just think of the ISO 45001 certifiable standard.

 

Through the NBN/I283 committee for OHS management, the NBN offers an exceptional opportunity to closely follow and contribute to these developments. Every individual, every company and every organisation in Belgium can join the NBN/I283.

 

What is occupational health and safety?

Occupational health and safety helps to create a safe and healthy work environment. It comprises 2 parts: occupational health and occupational safety.

 

Occupational health looks at potential health problems and well-being, including psychosocial risks. Occupational safety comprises the risk factor at your workplace and possible security risks that may cause injury.

 

Why is OHS so important?

An employer needs to take working conditions into account. OHS imposes a duty of care on every employer to ensure that staff work in acceptable conditions and that their mental health is a top priority.

 

The advantages of occupational health and safety are:

  • mental health and well-being
  • increased awareness and a safe work culture
  • increase in productivity
  • correct training and correct use of tools

An OHS management system contributes to many of the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs of the United Nations. Including SDG 3 ‘Good health and well-being’, SDG 5 ‘Gender equality’, SDG 8 ‘Decent work and economic growth’, SDG 9 ‘Industry, innovation and infrastructure’ and SDG 10 ‘Reduced inequalities'.

Standards and occupational health and safety

The international standards committee for occupational health and safety (ISO/TC 283) develops international standards for occupational health and safety. It is also responsible for the regular revision of these standards. The best known standard is ISO 45001 ‘Occupational health and safety management systems — requirements with guidelines for use’.

 

At the end of 2020 more than 300 companies in Belgium were certified according to ISO 45001, a 100% increase compared to 2019. Another standard covers psychosocial risks (ISO 45003). Two supplementary standards are currently being developed: for performance evaluation and for prevention and management of infectious diseases within organisations.

 

The Belgian standards committee for occupational health and safety (NBN/I283) aims to bring together all Belgian stakeholders with expertise in occupational health and safety. The committee closely follows ISO's work and contributes to it. Anyone (any company, any organisation or any individual) in Belgium can join NBN/I283. The NBN also offers training programmes to familiarise yourself with ISO 45001 or to expand your expertise.

 

Contributing to standards development works to your advantage

  1. You will be the first to know about future developments and trends that strengthen your organisation's competitiveness. At an international, European and national level. Do you want to be ahead in your field and ahead of your competitors? Then become an expert in our national committee.
     
  1. Early access to such strategic information offers you the opportunity to anticipate future changes.
     
  1. You exert influence during the standards development process. Your organisation can protect its investments in products, research and development. Whatever you do, you ensure that your interests are safeguarded in international, European and national standards.
     
  1. You build a network with everyone who is working towards creating a global and regional framework in your field. A standards committee is the ideal place to make new contacts. And to exchange ideas with people who, like you, are shaping the future of your field.
     
  1. You learn and exchange knowledge. The people who sit on standards committees are experts in their field and have in-depth knowledge. They share this knowledge and learn from each other. What if you are on a committee yourself? Then you gain a great deal of knowledge first hand. And you get a comprehensive overview of all the underlying aspects of a certain field.

Who can become an expert in occupational health and safety?

Every Belgian organisation and every individual person can join the Belgian standards committee for occupational health and safety. Knowledge of standards or the NBN is not necessary, knowledge of occupational health and safety is. This includes large and small companies, consultants and researchers, consumers, local authorities and regional or national agencies, health insurances, insurance companies, trade unions, financial institutions, employers' federations, audit and certification companies, etc.

When do the standards committees for occupational health and safety meet?

  • The Belgian committee NBN/I283 meets a few times a year.
    Next meeting: 23 September 2022
  • The international committee ISO/TC 283  meets once or twice a year.
    Next meeting: 31 October 2022

Will you become an expert?

Are you interested in joining standards committees for occupational health and safety?

- Please contact Alexandre della Faille (NBN project manager) at alex.dellafaille@nbn.be.
- Or join the next ‘Standardisation – The Basics’ webinar where more information is provided about standardisation (+/- 40 minutes).
- More information about ‘becoming an expert in a standards committee’ is also available on this webpage.