ISO, the tool we never knew we needed!

Having just completed our certification for ISO 45001 it made me think of the journey we have been on with ISO and the realization that actually our starting point for gaining the standard was actually further back then we realized.

Back in the summer of 2018 we decided as a business we wanted to strengthen our Environmental credentials and push the business further forward with its environmental responsibilities, this proved to be no mean feat and required us to produce a management system which would allow us to track all of the required environmental data and have policies and procedures in place which would help us to react to this information and continually improve our system and indeed the business.

We successfully completed our certification to ISO 14001 within a year of starting it, we were very happy with the results and Environmental success this brought to the business.  Then, however something unexpected happened, the tools and focus we applied to our management system began to cross into other areas of the business, communication and engagement within our team improved, people felt more and more part of the business and it seemed pretty simple with the team we had in place, we were hooked!

Fast forward to 2021 and we began to think could this system also be used to manage our teams Health, Safety & Wellbeing?  The business had grown considerably and as such become even busier and potentially hazardous to our teams and anyone visiting the site.

So, we discussed completing the ISO 45001 standard which covers all aspects of Occupational Health and Safety.  Looking through the standard this would be no mean feat as this standard is known for being particularly tough and would require some considerable resources to enable us to gain certification.

We launched a briefing road show with our teams completed by the Senior Leadership Team and mixed groups of 8 or so in order to explain to everyone what the business wanted to achieve and what this would mean to everyone, the response from the team was excellent and so we pushed forward with our plan.

A year later following many, many procedures, working groups and training it was time for our Certification Audits, three of them and four different auditors, this could certainly be classified as a full-on process.  However, we successfully completed our audits and received our certification with flying colors!

And whilst the overall OH&S context was important to us the hidden benefits were beyond expectations helping the business to become more agile, communicate with our teams more effectively and perhaps most importantly giving all off our team a voice for any concerns they may have.

So, we now have a great business management tool at the heart of both our ISO Certifications which is something we never realized would be so beneficial, who knows where ISO will take us next…

Paul Thurman-Carvey

Retail Director (Management Representative ISO)

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