Q&A with Dr. Keith Hutton on Hilger Crystals’ ISO 45001:2018 Certification
The Dynasil family of companies delivers an extensive range of photonics-based products and capabilities. But Dynasil itself is a product of its workforce. In this Q&A, we meet Dr. Keith Hutton, Quality, Safety, Health and Environment Manager at Hilger Crystals.
Hilger Crystals has recently achieved certification for the ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Standard. In this Q&A, Dr. Keith Hutton, who drove this project over the past year, enlightens us about the certification process and the benefits to employees, customers, and suppliers.
Q: What is ISO 45001 and why is it important?
Keith: Did you know that more than 7,600 people die from work-related accidents or diseases every single day? And that more than 1 million suffer from non-fatal work injuries — every day. Crazy, huh?
ISO 45001 is an international standard to manage occupational health and safety. It provides a formal framework to build the necessary procedures, documentation and record keeping required to manage all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. Simply put, it’s goal is to reduce accidents in the workplace and improve productivity.
This standard was developed by ISO, the International Standards Organization, an independent, non-governmental global organization with a membership of 165 national standards bodies so its truly the first international standard focused on health and safety at work.
Q: How is ISO 45001 related to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001?
Keith: All three are internationally recognized standards for specific management systems. And I’m proud to state that Hilger has achieved — and successfully maintained — accreditation in all three of these management systems standards.
- ISO 45001 is related to managing occupational health and safety
- ISO 9001 is related to managing product, service, and process quality
- ISO 14001 is related to managing environmental aspects and impacts of a business on the environment.
While each has a different focus, they are all based on the intentionally harmonized high-level structure. Sections are numbered the same and use the same headings. In general, most sections are similar in what is required but with a specific emphasis on their core topic. They complement each other in that the structures are identical and many processes that are used in one standard can be easily transferred to another. Essentially the same approach can be used across all three standards as long as the unique focus of each is understood.
Q: What was the ISO 45001 certification process like for you?
Keith: Each ISO system has a written standard to compare against. The formal certification process involves a preliminary independent assessment of how close the current management system is to the standard. This process identifies gaps between the two systems and highlights what needs to be altered to be compliant with the standard.
It then follows two certification assessments by an independent assessor (in the UK this is BSI, the British Standards Institute) where gaps, recorded as minor or major non-conformities against the standard, are identified. At the end of the assessment process, if no major non-conformity has been identified the company is recommended for certification. This recommendation is reviewed by another independent assessor who checks against the BSI auditor’s findings. Certification is granted upon approval.
Q: What does ISO 45001 certification mean to Hilger Crystals?
Keith: Achieving ISO 45001 certification is significant for any company. The four areas that are the most significant to Hilger Crystals are:
- Legal Compliance — adherence to the 45001 standard enables us to more easily remain compliant with health and safety laws and provide needed proof or documentation to any regulatory organization, such as the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), here in the UK.
- Improved risk management — the standard provides a common language and clear expectations for everyone to identify potential incidents and implement controls to protect employees and customers from harm.
- Increased Employee Morale — the company’s commitment to the health and welfare of its workers is exemplified through its certification and employees are empowered to maintain a safer environment.
- Reduced Operating Costs — Fewer risks in our processes is already leading to measurably less down-time due to injuries, accidents, and sickness.
Q: What benefits does ISO 45001 offer to customers?
Keith: Doing right by our employees is just good business. Our ISO 45001 certification shows that we take the health and safety of its staff, suppliers, and customers seriously. It also demonstrates that we are proactively focused on improving our operational efficiency and productivity.
The fact is that a safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. All of which leads to less downtime, faster turnarounds, better quality and happy customers! And finally, the certification is an authoritative indicator that we are compliant against all applicable health and safety regulations, which mean less regulatory risk for our customers.
About Hilger Crystals, a Dynasil Company
Founded in 1874, Hilger Crystals has a well-established history and proven reputation for producing high-quality, commercial-grade synthetic crystals used in infrared spectroscopy and state-of-the-art scintillation and detection solutions. Hilger Crystals’ ability to grow synthetic crystals in large volumes and to incredibly demanding specifications is further boosted by their close collaboration with customers — a practice that has proven successful from prototyping new research to wide-reaching commercial engagements. Hilger Crystals produces an extensive range of scintillation crystals carefully selected for their high density and brightness, excellent light output, and short decay constants. Crystals are available as linear and two-dimensional arrays in sizes from 5mm to 200mm, and can be coupled to position sensitive PMTs, CCD arrays, SiPMs, or linear photodiodes to form complete detector assemblies.