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Inside Growthbuilt’s successful ASNZ ISO 45001 accreditation journey

Tuesday, 19 March, 2019 - 09:30
Industry news
National News

A comprehensive migration and surveillance audit which identified specific opportunities for improvement as well as areas of non-compliance played a key role in helping Growthbuilt achieve ASNZ ISO 45001 accreditation, according to its head of HSE, Josh Maxwell.

Growthbuilt was originally certified to AS NZ 4801 and OHSAS 18001 (along with ISO 9001 and 14001) in 2008, and Maxwell said the leading tier 2 construction company has continually strived to improve its systems to ensure complia nce with relevant standards.

“It is our experience that the majority of clients now expect construction companies to be certified to appropriate standards,” said Maxwell, who explained that the evaluation of a company’s approach to health and safety, quality and environmental management is a key component in assessing tenders.

This is particularly important with regards to the ability of the prospective principal contractor to provide a:

  • safe workplace
  • healthy workplace for all workers and interested parties
  • sound approach to managing environmental risks
  • quality ethos for the end to end delivery of projects.

“With the advent of AS NZ ISO 45001, a decision was made early in 2018, that Growthbuilt should migrate to the new standard to ensure our integrated management system (IMS) was benchmarked against the global standards,” said Maxwell, who was speaking ahead of an SIA webinar presentation which focuses on ISO45001 migration strategies for Australian businesses, which will be held on Wednesday 10 April 2019 from 2:30pm to 3:30pm (AEDT).

In March 2018, Growthbuilt migrated to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 and were recertified to AS 4801 and OHSAS 18001, and during the migration and surveillance audit, Maxwell said Growthbuilt outlined its desire to migrate to 45001.

A strategy was developed which included a gap analysis audit in September 2018.

Prior to the audit, Growthbuilt used a 45001 self-assessment tool, which allowed Growthbuilt to map its current system against 45001.

Upon completion of the self-assessment, a two-day gap analysis was conducted, which identified that of the 240 individual audit criteria (from sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the new standard ISO 45001) Growthbuilt was compliant in 228 areas (95 per cent).

The analysis also identified opportunities for improvement, which were recommended and implemented in six areas:

1. “Interested parties” to be included in Growthbuilt’s IMS manual, which includes the need/requirement for this from an OHS perspective (under section 4.2 of the standard and its reference to understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties).

2. Top management (leadership) must take overall responsibility and accountability for the prevention of work-related injury and ill health, as well as the provision of safe and healthy workplaces and activities, with evidence to be provided of engagement in all OHS activities, including the ISO 45001 transition audit (under section 5.1 on leadership)

3. The IMS policy to be updated to reflect ISO 45001:2018 (under section 5.2 of the standard under OHS policy)

4. The IMS manual to be updated to reflect the development of a newly formed HSE participative leadership committee (under section 5.4 of the standard, covering consultation and participation of workers and how the organisation ensures workers consult and participate in development, planning and implementation).

5. The Growthbuilt head office to strengthen its office visitor induction process and procedure (under section 8.2 of the standard which refers to emergency preparedness and response).

6. The 2018 management review meeting (held in December 2018) to include the results of the audit (under section 9.3 of the standard which refers to management reviews).


Maxwell explained that Growthbuilt did not meet the new standard in six areas, and a number of steps were taken in response:

1. For the IMS policy to be updated to ensure participation of workers in all HSE matters is included (under section 5.2 of the standard which refers to OHS policy).

2 to 6. Requirement for Growthbuilt to ensure it evaluates compliance with legal requirements (under section 9.1.2 on evaluation of compliance of the standard).

While Growthbuilt had a compliant legal register, which was reviewed at least annually, Maxwell said it had not previously established a process to evaluate compliance with applicable legal requirements.

“To ensure Growthbuilt could close out these issues, the policy was reviewed and updated,” he said.

In terms of the legal issues, Growthbuilt engaged Clyde and Co to undertake a legal compliance audit, using its Clyde Comply audit tool, which maps each section of the WHS Act and regulations in five key areas:

  1. Leadership and governance
  2. System design
  3. Human factors
  4. Systems and tools
  5. Resilience

“This legal audit process was key in the success of Growthbuilt’s migration to 45001,” he said.

In January 2019, SAI Global undertook a four-day migration audit, which included two site visits to assess the implementation of the system.

“The audit was a rigorous process to ensure our IMS The Growthbuilt Way was fully compliant to the new standard,” said Maxwell, who added that Growthbuilt was subsequently certified to ASNZ ISO 45001 on 28 January 2019.

There were a number of challenges in the process, according to Maxwell, who pointed out that there are subtle changes between AS NZ 4801/OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 (as highlighted in this SIA news article).

“Specifically relating to Growthbuilt, we needed to ensure participation and not just consultation (worker and interested parties) are included in the new IMS, with the ability to evaluate compliance with legal requirements and provide evidence of that,” he said.

Maxwell said there are a number of steps OHS professionals should consider in looking to achieve ASNZ ISO 45001 accreditation:

  1. Read the standard and map the standard against your current management system.
  2. Engage an external party to conduct a gap analysis of your system.
  3. Review any non-conformances or opportunities for improvement and implement strategies to improve your system and processes.
  4. If possible, engage a legal firm to conduct a legal compliance audit (also a requirement of your due diligence compliance – “kill two birds with one stone”)
  5. Ensure you have strategies for all workers and interested parties to participate in all things OHS.


Maxwell will be speaking together with Lucy Bochenek, Clyde & Co special counsel, as part of an SIA webinar presentation which focuses on ISO45001 migration strategies for Australian businesses. The webinar will be held on Wednesday 10 April 2019 from 2:30pm – 3:30pm (AEDT). For more information click here