The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has recently launched the first international standard ISO 45001 ‘Occupational health and safety ’, to help organisations reduce the burden of workplace accidents and work related ill health and disease.  Developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, the standard aims to provide a framework to help reduce workplace injuries and ill health; reduce workplace risks; and create better, safer and healthier working conditions for employees.

Karen Bufton, President of BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, commented on this significant development: “BOHS is delighted that the new standard has been launched: it’s another landmark in the arena of worker health protection, and further supports the prevention of the huge burden of work related ill health and disease. It’s great news for worker health protection and the occupational hygiene profession.”

The following statistics outline the extent of the burden of occupational ill health:

• Globally, more than7 600 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases – which equates to over 2.78 million every year1
• In the UK, 13,000 deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposures at work, primarily chemicals or dust: occupational lung diseases account for around 12,000 of these deaths2
• 1.3 million working people in the UK are suffering from a work-related illness (new or long-standing)2
• £14.9 billion is the estimated cost of injuries and ill health in the UK2

1. International Labour Organisation