Organizations are faced with numerous incidents and non-conformities at different point of time. Incidents could be as simple as a worker’s ill-health or serious such as high exposure to hazardous material or a vehicle accident. Similarly, Non-conformities may arise when a procedure is not met, a protective equipment starts mal-functioning or damage to property which may cause health or safety related risk to workers or other interested parties. ISO 45001 requires that all such events shall be identified and adequate actions shall be planned to address these incidents and non-conformities.
ISO 45001 requires organizations to plan, establish, and maintain a process to handle Incidents and Non-Conformities, whenever they are encountered. The process must include the following steps:
- Report all incidents and non-conformities, whenever these are encountered.
- Take immediate action to correct the Incident or Non-conformity in order to control the incident / non-conformity and deal with any consequences.
- Identify all possible root cause that caused the problem. There are various tools that may be used to identify the root cause such as 5-Why analysis, Fish-bone Analysis, etc. Workers and other interested parties need to be involved when identifying root causes for an incident or non-conformity.
- Undertake corrective action to eliminate the root cause. The intent of this exercise is to ensure that the incident or non-conformity will not occur again due to the root cause and will eventually improve the process.
- Monitor the effectiveness of corrective actions to ensure that the non-conformity or incident has been completely eliminated.
- The corrective action records and a summary of corrective action results need to be presented in management reviews.
Addressing all non-conformities and incidents in a holistic manner using root cause analysis helps an organization to further improve its processes and reduces any organizational health and safety related risks related to incident or non-conformity. This reduces the number of incidents and non-conformities over a period of time and organization can yield the benefits of reduced cost due to these incidents or non-conformities. Therefore, it is important for any organization to address all incidents and non-conformities and take appropriate corrective actions.