Bruntwood Achieves Landmark Accreditation in Occupational Health and Safety
Rachel Butler is Head of Health, Safety & Risk at Bruntwood. Here, she reflects on our latest key achievement in Occupational Health and Safety, and how colleague collaboration has been the key to success.
This year has been full of milestones for me, both personally and professionally. As well as welcoming my first child into the world, I was also nominated and recognised for the National Federation of Builders' (NFB) Top 100 Most Influential Women in Construction Award. The former is life-changing; the latter is career-defining.
But career-defining moments aren’t reached in isolation, and I’m fortunate enough to work with a great team and an incredible wider network of colleagues who work tirelessly to push the envelope in Health & Safety at Bruntwood.
Through strong collaboration, they have now helped Bruntwood achieve its latest breakthrough: an official ISO 45001 certification in Occupational Health and Safety.
What is an ISO certification?
The ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) devises sets of internationally agreed and recognised standards in consultation with industry experts. They describe the best way of doing something in that field, such as delivering a service or managing a process. According to research by the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 7,600 people die from work-related accidents or diseases every day, so the importance of adhering to agreed standards cannot be overstated.
In the UK, the ISO’s certifications are handled and awarded by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
What is 45001 and why is it important?
Within the ISO’s range of accreditations for Occupational Health and Safety, there are a number of standards. 45001 is aimed at organisations that are serious about improving colleague safety, reducing workplace risks and creating safer working conditions. Building on the methods and criteria of other ISO management systems, familiar to many whose job involves workplace safety and risk assessment, 45001 has the added dimension of proactive risk prevention, innovation and continual improvement, thereby increasing organisational resilience.
In addition to the standards required for the initial certification, 45001 also provides a set of criteria on which we will be audited each year. This means that our commitment to health and safety in the workplace is an ongoing one, and that our processes will require constant improvement and must be clearly documented if we are to maintain our accreditation.
This is a hugely important point as it means that we are forced to hold ourselves to account, and ingrain a proactive approach to health and safety into the culture at Bruntwood. Ultimately, this allows us to protect our most important asset: our people.
Not only is this the right thing to do, but it makes commercial sense too. The Health & Safety Executive reports that improving workplace health and safety improves colleague morale and productivity. As efficiency improves, this in turn benefits our customers — it’s a symbiotic relationship. Plus, it clearly demonstrates our brand’s commitment to prioritising health and wellbeing through sustainable, inclusive working practices.
Our People are the business
The journey to accreditation began in February, when a group of colleagues hosted the BSI for a health and safety assessment. Since then, the wider team has implemented significant improvements to processes, and collaborated across departments in preparation for five intense days of thorough external audits which took place across a number of our sites, including Union and Alderley Park. Everyone involved worked so hard, and I’m incredibly proud of everything they put into it.
Now, the journey continues — and it’s important to recognise that we all play an important role in ensuring our people and places are the best they can be. It’s through collective efforts that we’ve achieved this certification. And in many cases, small changes to the way we work or the processes we follow can make a huge difference both now and in the long term.
I want to thank all my colleagues for their continuous support in creating a thriving health, safety and risk culture. And I would encourage any business who wants to do the same to look into ISO accreditation today; it’s seriously worth it.