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International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)/Project Committee chairman David Smith (centre), ISO technical programme manager José Alcorta (left) and Johor Department of Occupational Safety and Health director Saiful Azhar Mohd Said speak to reporters following the 6th ISO PC 283 Meeting in Ayer Keroh. Pic by MUHAMMAD HATIM AB MANAN.

MELAKA: A draft on the first global standard for occupational safety and health, 'ISO 45001', was presented and deliberated among stakeholders at the Tun Abdul Razak Social Security Organisation (Socso) Rehabilitation Centre here over the week.

The meeting, in its sixth edition, was Malaysia's first, where experts from 70 participating countries including Malaysia convened from Sept 18 - 23 to discuss ISO 45001, an international standard on managing occupational health and safety risks.

International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)/Project Committee chairman David Smith said: "The meeting is aimed at developing the ISO 45001 standard that will help organisations manage their workplace so that people will not get injured and ill-health issues at work.

"We want this standard to be adopted by organisations around the world, to make sure that workers are happy at work and that when they go home from work, they are in the same good health condition as what they were when they went to work in the morning.

"This standard is about developing a management framework so that minimisation of harm at work could occur, either in the form of disease, health or accidents," he told a press conference at the 6th ISO PC 283 Meeting here today.

The ISO 45001, which was proposed in March 2013, had undergone various stages in five meetings in London, Casablanca, Trinidad, Geneva and Mississauga.

The meeting here saw the participation of three Malaysian experts appointed by the Department of Standards Malaysia, including Global Institute of Society Management managing director Maimunah Khalid, Johor Department of Occupational Safety and Health director Saiful Azhar Mohd Said and Institution of Engineers Malaysia representative Hussein Rahmat.

Citing the success of ISO 9000 quality management systems, adopted by over a million organisations and ISO 14001 Environmental management, implemented by over 750,000 organisations, Smith envisioned for the adoption of ISO 45001 to surpass the two international standards.

He noted the importance of a systematic management of occupational health and safety to reduce fatalities and accident rates at workplaces, besides creating a better image for organisations and an increased productivity.

"They include leadership and commitment, worker competence and involvement, risk profiling and legal compliance," he said.

He added that the last vote for the draft was an 88% approval, with all the department of national standards from all countries voting for it.

ISO technical programme manager José Alcorta said the committee was looking at publishing of the international standards by March 2018.

"If we are successful in getting the final draft out and the votes are positive for the final draft, then it will be published in the first quarter of next year," he said.

Meanwhile, Saiful Azhar hoped that the ISO 45001 could be implemented in organisations here nationwide when it is published next year.

He also urged organisations here to seek consultation from their respective consultation and accreditation bodies to prepare themselves for the implementation of ISO 45001.

"Here in Malaysia, we have two common management systems which are OHSAS 18001 and MS 1722, which are implemented by about 800 establishments and organisations.

"By having a standardised international system (ISO 45001), we hope we can lower down our fatality and accident rates in Malaysia.

"Based on our last record, we have 4.86 fatalities per 100,000 workers in Malaysia while accident rate was 2.83 per 1,000 workers in the country.

"United Kingdom's fatality rate is only 1.7 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

"We hope to minimise the fatality rate by 4.64 and accident rate by 2.53," he said.

On the meeting's outcome, Saiful said there was no conclusion but the draft was accepted by all project committee members.

"Next, the ISO will look at the draft and do an 'editable work' where once completed, it would be circulated to the national standards of the respective countries to be put for public voting," he said.

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