Commonwealth flag

Leading by example

The Commonwealth Secretariat – London

On World Day for Safety and Health at Work (28 April 2023), we celebrate the 10 months that have passed since the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a safe and healthy work environment as a fundamental principle and right.

With the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) being part of the family of Commonwealth-accredited organisations, we’re doing this by focusing on the Commonwealth’s growing commitment to developing good occupational safety and health (OSH). So, here we profile OSH professionals from 10 Commonwealth players (including the Commonwealth Secretariat, in London) – one for each month since the historic ILO adoption. These profiles show how they’ve each ‘struck a blow’ for the ILO… and an exciting new era for OSH around the globe.

The Commonwealth Secretariat – London

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries. It is home to 2.5 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. 32 of its members are small states, including many island nations.

The Commonwealth's roots go back to the British Empire but today any country can join the modern Commonwealth. The last two countries to join were Gabon and Togo in 2022.

The Commonwealth Secretariat has its headquarters at Marlborough House, in Pall Mall, a Grade 1 listed Royal Palace. The Facilities Management section is the main vehicle for implementing health and safety systems and standards at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Secretariat ‘strikes a blow’ for the ILO

In January 2023, the Secretariat’s Health and Safety Management System passed its annual surveillance for the international standard of ISO 45001, the third consecutive year it had been audited with no non-conformities. The external auditors commented that the organisation had demonstrably gone “above and beyond” the desired standard.

ISO 45001 provides a framework to increase safety, reduce workplace risks and enhance health and wellbeing for staff, enabling the accredited organisation to proactively improve its OSH performance.

Linda Alexander, Head of Facilities Management, says: “We’ll continue to ensure safety is our priority and we are delighted to be collaborating with our IOSH colleagues.”

John Regan TechIOSH, Facilities Operations Manager (pictured left), says: "We’re incredibly proud of this achievement and the recognition of the diligence we apply to health and safety at the Secretariat. The auditor was very complimentary on the standard of the system, our levels of communication and staff engagement, and our commitment to continual improvement."

Alex O’Hanlon, Facilities Assistant, says: Health and safety is a shared responsibility, and we thank everyone for the contribution they make.”

See also

Jeremy Waterfield
Content Officer
  • Culture
  • Human Factors
  • Leadership and management
  • OSH Management / OSH processes
  • OSH safety culture
  • OSH Regulation
  • Standards
  • Collaborating
  • All
  • IOSH News release