Along with maintaining its certification to ISO 14001:2015 for its Environmental Management System, First Balfour has also migrated from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001:2018 for its Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management System.
Published in 2018, ISO 45001 replaces Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001 as an international consensus standard for workplace safety and health management programs. Through this new standard, OHS management is integrated more fully into an organization’s overall goals, objectives, and processes.
Among the key differences which set ISO 45001 apart from OHSAS 18001 is the more proactive stance of the new standard. It highlights a preventive process that requires hazard risks to be addressed before they cause incidents unlike OHSAS 18001 which only focuses on hazard control. It also puts emphasis on the active involvement of leadership and worker participation in safety education and training thereby creating a positive safety culture that goes far beyond regulatory compliance.
The 8-month campaign on the transition began in April with all core business employees undergoing an ISO 45001 Awareness Course which was fully delivered online via Workday. As the new standard follows the same high-level structure framework and shares about 50% of its language with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, the transition to ISO 45001 has been relatively seamless for First Balfour despite the limitations brought about by community quarantine protocols.
“These certificates reaffirm First Balfour’s commitment to continually improving its management systems by keeping abreast with the latest global standards. We are positive that our ESH standards and practices will enable us to continue being the partner of choice in the Philippine construction industry,” shares Head of Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH) Reynold A. Arce.
“Disciplined execution is crucial to our businesses. Being a process-oriented organization has enabled us to have a distinct capability that drives operational improvement in terms of quality, safety, reliability, and cost in delivering solutions to the customers. We have been maintaining these management systems for at least two decades and our journey towards improving our capabilities system continues,” shares President and Chief Operating Officer Anthony L. Fernandez.
First Balfour received both its first ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications in 2003, a year after it received its first ISO 9001 certification, making it one of the first triple ISO-certified construction companies in the Philippines.