ISO 45001:

The International Occupational Health and Safety Management System Standard

ISO 45001 will become the world’s first international standard for occupational health and safety (OHS) management published by the International Organisation for Standardisation. This was after the committee voted towards the end of January 2018 to approve the draft standard.

When ISO 45001 is published, OHSAS 18001 will be withdrawn and there will be an agreed migration period to the new standard, usually over a three year period.

OHSAS 18001 was launched in 1999 and much the same as ISO 9001 did with quality systems, it aimed to align the range of national health and safety management systems and standards into one, in order to reduce confusion and market fragmentation.

Why ISO 45001?

With the increase in global trade, there were new health and safety challenges that affected almost every business and also with corporates having locations around the world, a single standard makes it easier for them to manage their diverse risk portfolios. This led to the need for an international OHS management system standard, to raise standards and enable global benchmarking. For this reason, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set up Project Committee, ISO/PC 283, to develop an international standard that would be applicable to any organisation regardless of its size, activities, industry or location.

ISO 45001 will be a voluntary standard that is not legally binding but aims to help organisations manage their OHS risks and improve their performance to make people safer and healthier whilst at the same time improving efficiencies throughout the business by having a structured approach to H&S management that relies on employee involvement and buy-in. Certification will help organisations to demonstrate that they have a robust OHS system in place and will recognise that they have achieved an international benchmark – which will boost their reputation to customers and employees alike.

Other benefits include:
  • A robust system to comply with OH&S legislation and standards;
  • Fewer accidents mean less absenteeism, lower employee turnover rates and better morale;
  • Development of a dynamic SHE system that is beneficial to bottom-line performance;
  • Reduced disruption to operations in terms of time and cost.
What can we expect from ISO 45001?

Alignment of national OH&S standards. The overall aim of ISO 45001 is the same as OHSAS 18001, namely to align the range of national health and safety management system standards into one standard with the intention of removing confusion and market fragmentation.

Annex SL structure. As with all new and revised ISO standards, ISO 45001 will follow the same common terminology and high-level structure found in Annex SL. This is a key difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001.

Context of Organisation. Annex SL will introduce a stronger focus on the context of an organisation. Organisations will need to consider the health and safety issues that directly impact them and also take into account the wider society and how their work may impact the surrounding communities.

Top management and worker participation. The role of health and safety will not become the sole responsibility of the Health and Safety Manager – the new standard attempts to ensure that there will be more top management involvement and greater participation of workers in the development of policies and systems.

GSRC can help!

For more information about our ISO 45001 services and how we can support you in transitioning to the new standard from OHSAS 18001, feel free to contact us.

We also offer training on the new standard to get your teams aligned before the transition process starts.
We have developed a range of training courses which will be tweaked with the latest changes.

We will also be looking at launching workshop sessions soon, to address:

  • Annex SL – the new high-level structure for all revised ISO standards.
  • What’s new in ISO 45001.
  • What do these changes mean for your organisation?
  • Practical tips to help you transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001.

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