• International Workplace
  • 18 July 2018

New occupational health and safety standard published

The revised occupational health and safety standard GRI 403 has been released by international sustainability reporting organisation, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The standard has been revised to focus on the presence of robust occupational health and safety management systems, and the processes and programs that prevent harm and promote worker health – and will assist companies in driving improvements in occupational health and safety and in the lives of millions of workers through transparency.

The updated standard: 

  • enables organisations to communicate their efforts both to prevent harm and to promote workers’ health;
  • covers the full spectrum of workers for whose occupational health and safety the organisation is expected to be responsible (e.g. control of work and workplace);
  • includes leading indicators such as implementation of an occupational health and safety management system and active engagement of workers;
  • places emphasis on identification of hazards and assessment of risks, and the application of hierarchy of controls;
  • helps measure impacts on the health of workers as opposed to measuring the loss of productivity for the organisation – the emphasis is thus on recovery time for the worker; and
  • includes improved methodologies for measuring and reporting work-related injuries and ill health – thereby enhancing the quality and comparability of this information.

The new standard aligns with key international instruments from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and with ISO 45001. In accordance with due process, the update was carried out by a diverse group of stakeholders that brought a combination of knowledge and experience in occupational health and safety. Chaired by Dr Sharron O’Neil, from the University of New South Wales, Australia, the Project Working Group included representatives from businesses, labour, civil society, mediating institutions and investors. Examples included Heineken, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), ILO, the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Canadian Labor Congress, and the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS), among many others.

Larry Stoffman, Director, Western Occupational Health Resources, and member of the Working Group said:

“This standard addresses some of the most effective and up-to-date approaches to prevention programming in occupational health and safety. It will help all stakeholders determine the extent to which a reporting organisation has integrated effective management systems in this critical area which address key issues affecting the organisation's impact on its workers.”

Richard Jones, IOSH Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said:

“IOSH believes that public reporting of OSH performance helps organisations and their stakeholders to have a better view of when and where attention and resources should be focused for improvement.

“Standards like this, supporting transparency in operations and supply chains worldwide, can help ensure reports are meaningful and comparable and drive better health and safety performance - benefiting individuals, businesses and societies.”

The Standard is available for download here.