Moroccan laboratory Afric-Phar, which manufactures, markets and distributes medicines for human use, has added ISO 45001 to its list of certifications alongside ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. This latest achievement bears testament to the effectiveness of its occupational health and safety management system.
I’d like the S in “QSE”! Based in Casablanca, Morocco, Afric-Phar decided to add occupational health and safety (OH&S) to its quality and environmental credentials. by gaining endorsement of its management system’s compliance with ISO 45001, the authoritative standard on the subject published one year ago.
Enlisting the support and guidance of AFNOR Morocco with leading its certification strategy, Afric-Phar was focused on creating a safer workplace, identifying occupational risks more effectively and improving working conditions for employees. To give its continual improvement efforts every chance of winning, the laboratory had to engage, involve and consult with all its stakeholders.
Preventive treatment with ISO 45001
In a sector with such stringent standards and requirements as the pharmaceutical industry, several aspects of Afric-Phar’s activities are ideally suited to OH&S certification, from transforming raw materials through to delivering finished products that may present side effects: use of PPE (personal protective equipment), rules for operating machinery, temperature control to ensure appropriate conditions in cold stores, requirements for handling products in inflammable areas… everything is recorded. The laboratory has even granted employees the right to stop work in certain cases and when performing specific missions.
Afric-Phar has put other tangible initiatives into practice, such as organizing a special occupational health and safety day every year, complete with a pocket guide, so that all employees can learn about the requirements and be aware of their personal obligations. A questionnaire has also been disseminated among the different business functions (production, storage, etc.) to measure the extent to which employees comply with applicable rules throughout the year. The operator with the highest score receives a medal. This token of appreciation is a popular initiative within the company. Afric-Phar has also pinned up SBP flashcards (Safety Best Practices) and EBP flashcards (Environmental Best Practices) in various areas of the company, such as social areas, corridors and cloakrooms, to continue raising awareness of health and safety best practices.
ISO 45001: “due diligence”
Nabila Khalil, QSE Director at Afric-Phar, explains: “Leading the laboratory’s activities in accordance with applicable health, safety, security and environmental regulations elevates the profession’s image. It also strengthens the feeling of belonging among the company’s employees. All the special attention that we pay to our organization is perceived as creating value and giving our company greater spirit.”
Nabila Khalil also considers ISO 45001 certification to be “a way of showing that the certified organization is well prepared to address the technological changes sweeping the pharmaceutical industry” and also as “recognition that the company can tackle international challenges more effectively.” “Our profession has a duty to exercise due diligence. We are responsible for promoting an extremely high standard of quality. Although no other Moroccan laboratories have been certified to date, we hope that our example will set the trend and pave the way,” she says in closing.
ISO 45001: through the auditor’s eyes
Chantal Duday audited Afric-Phar and issued a positive audit report. She explains: “The pharmaceutical sector deserves special attention, and achieving ISO 45001 required a lot of energy. Employees represent one of Afric-Phar’s main driving forces for success. The organization undertook a major communication and awareness-raising campaign, which was instrumental in engaging everyone with the process.”
She adds: “Leadership is essential in this type of venture. Although the process of consulting and involving employees met with a positive response, setting out the ground rules helps the organization garner collective trust and move forward. The laboratory is clearly focused on research & development and is now committed to continually improving how it protects its employees as well as how it launches and markets safe and innovative products.” The aim is to draw inspiration from European practices to gain a competitive advantage in the international market.
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