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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Latest news about ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Standard

The latest draft of this Standard has been issued and is due to be voted on at the end of May 2017.  This is an important vote as it will determine if the revised draft can go through to publication or will need to be further amended and then move to a final draft.

There have been some serious changes since the last effort which resulted in an avalanche of objections.  The main areas were the involvement of workers and their representatives at every step.  Many countries thought that this was really over the top and would hamper operation of businesses.   Clearly there needs to be input from workers, usually in the form of H&S works committees and safety is paramount.

The implementation of Health & Safety across the world  is significantly different and producing a Standard to satisfy all these was always going to be challenging.  An example I saw was in Belgium where road works were in progress; they didn’t close off vast stretches of the road to effect these roadworks as we do in this country, but merely put cones around the actual work.
If the latest draft is accepted without significant changes required it could be published as soon as September.  If however it requires amendment and moves to a final draft then it is unlikely to be published this year.

I know that a  number of organisations planning to incorporate OHSAS system are trying to decide whether to go for OHSAS 18001 or wait until ISO 45001 is published.

We will keep you up to date with developments

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

One good reason for good Computer back-up

The current Ransomware attack has paralysed many organisations around the world and many more may follow.

Ransomware is a worm that infects a computer system; it identifies critical files and documents and then encrypts them.  The first indication is a notice that your system is infected and your files are unavailable.  The crook then demands a payment in Bitcoin (usually £250) to supply the decryption key.  Sadly there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in regaining access to your files.

There are two ways to protect your systems from this type of attack:

  • Take regular and comprehensive back-ups of your systems and ensure that these are validated. In the worst case you can wipe the system and then reinstall everything from the backup. Many organisations take “an image” and this enables the entire system to be restored in the event of a malfunction.
  • Ensure that your systems are kept up to date with all patches and updates incorporated. It is a false economy to keep old computer equipment which will not allow newer operating system to be used.  I have seen Microsoft Windows XP, and in one case Microsoft Windows Millennium being used.  Microsoft has not been supporting these systems for some time and it is these which have been most vulnerable to attack.

I know that it is very clever in hindsight but cyber security should be high on the agenda for everyone.  Too often capital expenditure is cut and computer equipment and software purchases are put off.

There WILL be further attacks of this kind and the gossip suggests that financial organisations will be next.    This is a wake-up call to industry, lets hope it is heeded.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

More scams

We have all been used to the telephone call which tells us that our computer is infected by a virus and if we give the caller access to our system then he/she will fix it free of charge but the newest one is purportedly from BT saying that a virus has infected the broadband and it will be cut off if we don’t react within twenty minutes.  All false of course but it pays to be vigilant.

A new one on me was an email saying that my car had been parked in a prohibited place and a fine was due to be paid.  If I paid within 24 hours I could deduct 50%, but if it was not paid in 7 days it would double.  We have all had genuine parking fines and the one thing they have in common is the Registration Number of the car; this was not present on the email.  The secure payment portal was also false so any money would go straight to the scammer.

As the crooks get smarter and they receive funds from those taken in they will continue to try and compromise as many people as possible.

Don’t let them get away with it.  If in doubt don’t pay.

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