In my previous post I described BS 76000:2015 Human resource – Valuing people – Management system – Requirements and guidance and described how Hastam has used its requirements to include human resource issues in its Integrated Management System. In the present post I want to describe another people-related Standard we found useful, that is, BS ISO 27500:2016 The human-centred organization – Rationale and general principles.

Unlike BS 76000, BS ISO 27500 is not a management system standard and the Scope clause includes the statement This International Standard is not intended to prevent the development of national standards that are more specific or demanding. Hence, presumably, BS 76000.

Because it is not a management system standard, BS ISO 27500 is rather motherhood and apple pie in places but clause 4 provides a thought-provoking list of seven human-centred principles with the following titles:

  • Capitalize on individual differences as an organizational strength
  • Make usability and accessibility strategic business objectives
  • Adopt a total system approach
  • Ensure health, safety and well-being are business priorities
  • Value personnel and create meaningful work
  • Be open and trustworthy
  • Act in socially responsible ways

The description of these principles is followed by clause 5 Risks from failing to apply human-centred principles which includes sections on Complexity of risk, Assessing risk and Managing and mitigation risk. There is no recommended approach to risk management but there is a statement that ISO 31000 provides principles, framework, and a process for managing all risks, including those arising from use and human behaviour. The ISO 31000 referred to was replaced in 2018 and one the subsequent posts in this blog will deal with the new 31000.

Clause 6 is Guidance on implementing human-centred principles and minimising risks. It consists of two tables. Table 1 is a two-column table with a row for each of the seven human-centred principles. The left-hand column of the table has the title of the principle and the right-hand column has a list of Ways of applying the principle. The second table is similar but the right-hand column is Typical risks of not applying the principle.

The final clause, clause 7, is Guidance on integrating a human-centred approach throughout the organization but it also deals with continually improving the organization’s actions related to the human-centred approach.

There are two annexes and a bibliography. The two annexes are

Annex A – International Standards relevant to each principle of the human-centred approach. This annex only gives the Standard numbers, for example, ISO 26000, but full details are given in the bibliography.

Annex B – Examples of organizations whose websites indicate support for the principles. The organizations are not named – just the sector they are in.

Although I have been describing ISO 27500 in the context of HR, much of it is directly relevant to health and safety. In particular, the emphasis on human-centred design which is defined as approach to system design and development that aims to make systems more usable by focusing on the use of the systems, applying ergonomics, human factors, and usability knowledge and techniques. Good health and safety does this already but it is always useful to look at a subject from as many different angles as possible and ISO 27500 provides a different angle.

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