Setting the standards: Our experience and some tips for you

Todd Hallam BSi.JPG

There are many benefits to the implementation of standards into an organisation, but there are also many challenges along the way. Todd Hallam, Chalcroft’s QEHS Director was recently invited to speak at ‘The Future of ISO 45001 Seminar’, hosted by the ACT Associates, a provider of health, safety and environmental solutions. ISO 45001 has been officially launched as the new global standard for occupational health and safety and will replace OHSAS 18001.

Chalcroft has three offices in the UK, has 100 employees working with professional teams and more than 5,000 sub-contractor partners. On average, 30,000 personnel pass through Chalcroft sites every year.

In 2010, Chalcroft recognised that its health and safety management systems needed to be streamlined to a standard that clearly demonstrated compliance and control; and would be recognised and acknowledged by clients and stakeholders. The process to implement started internally in February 2011, followed by BSi Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments between November 2011 and July 2012. OHSAS 18001 certification was awarded in August 2012.

Chalcroft are also accredited to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and are in the process of transitioning to ISO 45001. Todd’s talk was about the challenges and benefits of implementing standards into an organisation and here he shares some tips relevant to all businesses going through the same process:

Know where to start. Attend courses and seminars, webinars, hire a consultant, register with an assessment company and use them.
Assess what you have against what you need, be ruthless and not afraid to accept that what you or your company have, or have been doing, may not be good enough.
Approach the decision makers and those that need to buy into it. Prepare a plan outlining the value of why the standard is of benefit to the business and stakeholders.
Be strong and ignore the haters. Change can be feared and loathed, what you already have may work in the eyes of many and the necessary expenditure and re-direction of resources or additional IT infrastructure may not want to be understood.
Be realistic regarding time and resources. Don’t over commit against your day-to-day requirements and budget properly (allowing a contingency for the unexpected).
Get a team together that you can work with and will support you through the process and beyond. Make sure team members understand why this is happening so they can be effective and are able to challenge you.
Communicate with stakeholders. Tell them what the standard is about, why it is being implemented (the value), promote its values and issue regular updates.
Audit and review.

Benefits of standardisation
The key benefit is standardisation! All activities and operations across the business follow the same process.
Tailored to your organisation. The standard is a guide; you build around its framework to suit your business.
Easy to maintain. Updates and new implementations can be made swiftly and effectively knowing where a document or process goes, how it’s communicated and reviewed or audited.
Proven and recognisable. The standard will demonstrate that you have a known management system and can validate its effectiveness from audit results.

Following the successful implementation of OHSAS 18001, and allowing adequate time for it to become fully integrated into the business and further developed, Chalcroft implemented ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.

ISO 14001 was relatively straightforward as it was driven by one department (EHS) and there had been significant learnings from OHSAS 18001.

ISO 9001 was more challenging as there were ten departments across three offices and multiple construction sites, each with their own way of doing things. Buy-in from all department heads was needed to pull together all of the current practices for discussion and agree as to what was “the right way”.

Over the course of a year, led by one director, regular meetings were held with department heads and then department members to agree processes, procedures and documents, and how these interlinked and affected other departments. These were then aligned to the ISO standard, training provided and auditing undertaken to ensure compliance.

The OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 processes were combined into the Chalcroft Integrated Management System, or CIMS, accessible to all employees. Department heads set their KPI’s each year, undertake an annual review of their processes and procedures and continue to undergo independent auditing by an internal auditor.