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New international reporting standard

02 July 2018

THE REVISED Occupational Health and Safety reporting standard, GRI 403, has been released by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an independent organisation which has pioneered international sustainability reporting for over 20 years.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has been closely involved in the development of the new standard having initiated the call for change via the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS) in Chicago.

As part of the project working group, and as an Organisational Stakeholder, IOSH rallied its members and OSH professionals around the world to respond to the 2012 GRI Survey, which informed the work.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones 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 new Standard provides best practice for measuring and reporting on occupational health and safety impacts on the economy, the environment and society.

It includes important new features such as leading indicators on the implementation of an occupational health and safety management system and improved methodologies for measuring and reporting work-related injuries and ill health.

The new Standard states that “Healthy and safe work conditions involve both prevention of physical and mental harm, and promotion of workers’ health.”

“Prevention of harm and promotion of health require an organisation to demonstrate commitment to workers' health and safety [and]…to engage workers in the development, implementation, and performance evaluation of an occupational health and safety policy, management system and programs that are appropriate to the organisation’s size and activities,” it says.

The world of work is changing and moves toward remote working and the rise in self-employed people are addressed specifically in the guidance. It states that ‘worker type’ does not determine whether the worker is to be included by the organisation in its reported data, and that the organisation must act to eliminate hazards and minimise risks to protect workers from harm.

IOSH research ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’, released in 2017, revealed that although nearly half of workers in Western Europe work remotely they do not have access to the same health and safety standards as other workers. Earlier this year, IOSH supported the UK Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ initiative to help protect lone workers’ rights, and has also produced a toolkit and video to help employers look after the health and safety of their employees in the growing ‘gig economy’.

The revised version of GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety is now available for download on the GRI website.

GRI will hold two live webinars on 20 September to present the new Standard and to engage with stakeholders via a Q&A session.

Richard Jones will cover this and other new developments in his Shaping the future of safety and health session at IOSH 2018 in Birmingham, UK, on Monday 17 September 2018.