In August, the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”), the world’s largest global developer of voluntary international standards, approved the creation of a project committee who will develop an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems (“OHSMS”).
The ISO states that the OHSMS standard is intended to provide governmental agencies, industry and other organizations with an effective, usable guidance for improving worker safety around the world. One of the primary objectives of the new global standard is to create an international framework for OH&S best practices and help prevent and reduce work-related injuries, diseases, and deaths worldwide.
While the global standard will not be mandatory in Canada unless expressly adopted into Canadian law, the OHSMS standard may assist employers who opt to implement it in demonstrating that they have taken reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of its workforce and could be of assistance where an employer is seeking to make out a due diligence defence.
The first meeting of the project committee is scheduled to be held from October 21-25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. Stay tuned.