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OHS to BCM, Wake up and step up

June 16, 2013

isqem BCM Training Course

Over the years I have developed business continuity plans (BCP) hoping they would never be used. Unfortunately things are not always under our control and several times I needed to invoke a BCP due to major fires, environmental events, to security situations such as revolutions/uprisings in countries. If a plan had NOT been in place the disasters would have escalated out of control affecting employees, and the on-going survival of the companies involved.

There is no doubt that many of us have the ability to manage and lead across disciplines. First it was safety, then, occupational health, followed by environment, all part of the OHS professionals remit; well, maybe you should consider one more to add to the list of responsibilities, “Business Continuity Management” (BCM).

One way to demonstrate how important OHS is to an organisation is to step up and take the lead in developing the Business Continuity plan for your organisation. Now before you go into a state of panic, it actually fits very well with an OHS professionals skill set and our approach to risk management.

Since the financial crisis in 2008 there has been an upsurge in businesses adopting BCM as part of company strategy and survival and have conducted a business impact analyse (BIA) to ensure they can survive in the future. Business Continuity Management is the process of identifying the potential impacts to a business and it operations, to provide a resilient framework in order to have a clear response to minimise the impact and likelihood of disruptions. International standards and guidelines for BCM are now accepted by industry as a necessity, with the ISO 22301 standard being the leading benchmark.

So what is ISO 22301:2012 Business Continuity Management?

ISO 22301:2012 specifies requirements to plan, establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve a documented management system to protect against, reduce the likelihood of occurrence, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive incidents when they arise.

The requirements specified in the standard are generic and can be applied to all organisations, or parts thereof, regardless of type, size and nature of the business. The extent of application of these requirements obviously will depend on the organisations operating environment and complexity.

Why should we have BCM?

Every organisations, whether you’re small or large need to identify threats relevant to your business, and the critical business functions they could impact. It allows you to put appropriate risk mitigation procedures and plans in place ahead of time to ensure your business doesn’t come to a standstill or worst case scenario into closure.

By having an effective response safeguards the interests of key stakeholders, corporate reputation, brand and value creating activities. Any organization in any industry sector can be impacted by extreme weather conditions, terrorism, IT system failure, staff sickness, OHS accidents, and many other unplanned incidents. If you do not safeguard your employees and reputation, minimize disruption and maximize recovery time, the outcome can be devastating.

So we all need to wake up and step up to the line, and start being involved in the BIA. BCM, and BCP process of our companies, if not we may be looking at a very bleak future.

Wayne J Harris
Chairman of ISQEM

  1. Samuel permalink

    How can one have expertise in all these areas? Any training opportunities please?

  2. Hi Samuel, ISQEM have a courses on BCM that is presently in-house to companies. This is also going to be available online as a e-learning course in the next few weeks. If you are interested email and he will make sure the details are sent to you as soon as it goes live on the internet.

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