Measuring up at work

A new ISO document for occupational health and safety metrics has just been published.

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Por Clare Naden
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Some 2.78 million people die as a result of work-related accidents or illness each year, on top of the hundreds of millions who suffer with injuries. The cost to all of society, therefore, is huge, giving rise to relevant laws and significant investments made in occupational health and safety. But how do you know such measures work and how well your staff are actually doing?

ISO/TS 24179, Human resource management – Occupational health and safety metrics, is the first of a large series of technical specifications (TS) and guidance documents to provide comparable measures for internal and external reporting in human resource management. It specifically relates to occupational health and safety data and highlights any issues that should be considered when interpreting it. This, in turn, will not only help with decisions on appropriate interventions but is also useful when reporting these to external stakeholders, such as regulators and investors.

The TS covers areas such as lost time from work-related injuries, accidents and disease, the number of incidents, the rate of people who have undertaken training on occupational health and safety, and more. It helps to show comparisons over time as well as against targets and industry or organizational expectations.

Neil McCormick, Convenor of the working group of experts that developed ISO/TS 24179, said the intention behind this series of metrics documents is to support the effective use of ISO 30414, Human resource management – Guidelines for internal and external human capital reporting, and other related standards.

“We are currently in the process of developing specifications that cover around 70 different metrics, such as those for productivity, costs, recruitment, mobility and turnover, and more,” he said.

“They will be useful tools for organizations to improve productivity, meet regulatory requirements and have a clearer picture of their performance across many areas in order to make the most effective decisions for the company and its employees.”

Other future technical specifications in the series will cover compliance and ethics, costs, diversity, leadership, organizational culture, skills and capabilities, succession planning and workforce availability.

ISO/TS 24179 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 260Human resource management, whose secretariat is held by ANSI, ISO’s member for the USA. It can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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