New ISO Guidelines Issued for Working in the Pandemic

New ISO Guidelines Issued for Working in the Pandemic

21st December 2020

The issue of new ISO guidelines that have just been published should clear up some issues and help companies to get to grips with their responsibilities at this time. They are aimed at helping provide “safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The Background

A new set of ISO guidelines will normally take as long as up to three years to produce. These are international standards that are used all over the planet and that help to provide common definitions and practices for workers, so they need a lot of time spending on them.

In the case of the new ISO/PAS 45005 guidelines, these have been developed in just three months by the International Organization for Standardization, due to the urgency of the pandemic. Experts from more than two dozen countries worked together on this document for workers and employers to use during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the organisation’s 80 member countries signing it off.

What Is Covered?

The advice can be used in numerous different industries and types of workplace, allowing each variable work environment to carry on safely or for bosses to plan for their re-opening after a closure due to the on-going restrictions in place.

They have brought together “international best practice” that should be used in addition to the national regulations that are currently in place in each different country. All of the information can be seen in a publicly available specification (PAS), meaning that it can be updated at any time as new information comes to light.

Sally Swingewood is the manager in charge of the team that developed the new guidelines. She said that the practical advice given in the document can be used by any company regardless of where they are based and what their status is. Swingewood pointed out that not all businesses have human resources or health & safety departments that could deal with rolling out these practices.

We can see in the document how some of the commonly used terms – such as PPE – are defined. It goes on to let us see what measures employees should be taking to guarantee the well-being of their staff, and what should be done if someone in the company is diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Sections include the likes of “first return to a workplace” and “entering and leaving the workplace”, with each section fairly short and easy to follow. Meetings, common areas and work-related travel are all covered here too.

The annex covering protective security considerations looks at the measures that should be taken to keep everyone safe at work. It should be remembered that specific jobs and industries often already have safety measures in place, such as the special equipment and external access ladders that are used in the construction sector.

What Happens Next?

The information provided in this new ISO document should be used by every company, to get some extra advice and clarity on this important issue. It is quite a quick read that should give everyone a chance to easily spot any areas for improvement that they need to implement.