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Service leads the way in achieving occupational health and safety standard

health and safety team in front of fire engine with award

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is the first fire service in the UK to achieve the ISO 45001 accreditation with a 100 per cent pass rate.

ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System is the world’s first International Standard for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). It was introduced in 2018 and replaces the previous British Standard of OHSAS 18001 in the organisation.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has been working closely with staff and partners to ensure health and safety management systems are in place to aid employee well-being in the organisation. The transformation to the ISO 45001 means that the organisation is internationally recognised in an elite category of businesses.

ISO 45001 provides a framework to increase safety, reduce workplace risks and enhance health and well-being at work, enabling an organisation to continually improve its OH&S performance. It is applicable to all organisations, regardless of size, industry or nature of business. The Service has already met the generic management system approach of other international standards such as:

• ISO 14001 - effective environmental management system
• ISO 27001 - information security management system
• ISO 22301 – business continuity management system

To change to ISO 45001, the Service has continued to provide a structured and organised framework for OH&S that relies on evidence based data to ensure that there is reinforced leadership to proactively improve OH&S performance, and that legal and regulatory requirements are met. Delivering high OH&S standards has enhanced the reputation of the service amongst businesses and organisations by meeting the needs and expectations of CFRS’s workforce, local communities and partner agencies.

Staff from across the Service can feel their needs and safety are being taken into account and that a positive corporate culture is created. The benefits of being accredited to ISO 45001 include increased confidence in all aspects of OH&S and that a specialist auditor validating policies, procedures, processes and continual improvements on an annual basis. Competencies against every role in the organisation are recorded and every system and piece of equipment has training delivered. 

Area commander Chris Parker said: “Achieving the ISO 45001 standard at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue services is something we should all be proud of. Migrating to this new international standard shows our commitment to our employees, partners and the public that we take occupational health and safety seriously. We aim to prevent hazards and promote a positive working culture in the service.

“The new management system could not be implemented in depth without the support of staff across Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service. Without their corroboration it wouldn’t have been embedded in the organisation to the degree it has been to make accreditation successful.

“By transitioning to this new standard, this shows that we can set the benchmark for Occupational Health and Safety across all services in the UK.”

The health and safety team have ensured that proactive measures are implemented so that consistency of OH&S standards are met across the organisation, this is the main reason how the organisation has received their new standard as internal operations have changed from detection mode to prevention. This means that the fire service has transitioned to a new standard that continues provide a framework to manage risks and opportunities to help prevent work-related injury and ill health to workers.

Photos of staff with the ISO 45001 award are here: