On-Site & Remote: A flexible approach to ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 certification

Bill Barnes
Bill Barnes
October 8, 2021
Sponsored by: LRQA
NAEM Blog: Onsite and Remote: A flexible approach to ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 certification
When NA Höganäs decided to pursue significant growth objectives in North America, certification to ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 helped demonstrate a commitment to increasingly important safety and environmental considerations.

Here, we speak with David Johnson – EHS Manager at NA Höganäs – about the role that a blended on-site and remote approach to auditing played in helping NA Höganäs meet its business-critical certification plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why ISO 14001?

“With 14 sites across the world producing a yearly capacity of 500,000 tons of metal powders, a ‘safety first’ approach has become a priority for all of our people, from senior management through to operational staff,” explained David Johnson of NA Höganäs. “We must ensure people can remain healthy and safe in their work environment, and the ISO 45001 framework supported this by offering additional support to our existing safety program, bolstering our current, robust set of guidelines. “ISO 45001 has also encouraged us to introduce a detailed and structured risk assessment process. We identify potential incidents before they occur and complete detailed analysis of outcomes and corrective actions, giving our people and stakeholders more confidence in our processes.”

Maintaining world-leading environmental standards

NA Höganäs also successfully achieved re-certification to ISO 14001 – confirming that its environmental management system and processes were effective, well maintained and geared towards continual improvement.

“We’ve become a world leader in our sector due to our commitment to always aim for the highest standards. Our ISO 14001 certified environmental management system allows us to achieve just that while also providing complete transparency. We have a clear focus on reducing landfill waste at both a local and global level. Through ISO 14001, we can deliver this through our integrated management review process.

The value of flexibility

COVID-19 meant that NA Höganäs’ plans for a full on-site audit had to shift to a blended approach that utilized Lloyd’s Register’s Remote Audit service.

“This was a daunting prospect for us as we had never experienced a remote audit before. However, LR’s auditors laid out a comprehensive plan of action that involved a thorough audit of our management systems. The program included the usual interviews, document sharing, and evidence gathering that you would expect from an on-site audit. This level of planning gave us confidence that our audits could continue despite the circumstances.” The flexible blended approach afforded NA Höganäs several additional benefits over a wholly on-site audit.

“It was more flexible as dates could be arranged at short notice, and it reduced the number of travel days normally required. It also increased our access to LR’s technical experts located around the world and allowed for involvement from other stakeholders.”

Remote auditing – a ‘seamless’ process

Alternative solutions were offered to meet NA Höganäs’ needs when it was not possible for auditors to deliver an on-site service. The Remote Audit capability enabled critical certification activities to go ahead without waiting for restrictions to lift.

“While half of the audit was conducted virtually, the standard was as high as ever.”

ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 certification highlights NA Höganäs’ health & safety and environmental management systems’ effectiveness. It also shows how their systems, processes and core business objectives are strongly linked.

About Höganäs AB – North American Höganäs:

Established in 1797, Höganäs is a global, market-leading manufacturer of iron and metal powders with an ambitious target of becoming the North American steel industry benchmark. The company serves over 3,000 customers across 75 countries with a 3,500-strong product line.
Topics: EHS Compliance


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About the Author

Bill Barnes
Bill Barnes
Bill Barnes is an Integrated Senior Lead Assessor working with LRQA since 2005 involved in ISO 9001, 14001, 45001 and Responsible Care© assessments. Bill has over thirty-five years of manufacturing engineering, consulting, training and assessment experience for quality, health & safety, environmental and security aspects in the service and manufacturing industries sectors working from on the floor liaison engineering to mid and senior management positions in industries including aerospace, transportation, chemicals, pulp and paper, food and beverage. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, IRCA Principal Auditor and Exemplar Global Responsible Care Auditor.

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