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ISO 45001 is the new occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system standard being developed by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

It is currently in final draft stage and is expected to be published in March 2018.

Who is ISO 45001 for?

According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2016/2017 1.3 million workers in the UK were suffering from new or long-standing work-related ill health ( These figures suggest that the ‘H’ of ‘H&S’ has a much bigger impact than perhaps many of us might have thought. ISO 45001 is intended to help minimise this figure by giving all organisations, regardless of their industry or size, an opportunity to reduce OH&S risk by complying with the requirements set out within the standard.

What does ISO 45001 do?

Best practise standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 have the general benefit of recognition; from clients, other companies, regulatory bodies and the wider public.

Where an organisations’ operations interact with their employees or any other individual, ensuring there is a robust health and safety management system can have great benefits to the public, employees and management. Aligning that to an international standard, such as ISO 45001, will demonstrate to interested parties that you take it seriously.

Why implement an Occupational Health and Safety Management System?

Businesses of all sizes are required to adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. By adopting an OH&S Management System to meet the requirements of ISO 45001:2018, a business can manage OH&S risks more effectively and improve overall OH&S performance, keeping people safer and healthier.

Implementing an OH&S Management System can also help increase overall profitability. As risk is minimised, incidents should happen less. If and when they do happen, costly disruption to core operations will be minimised as the organisation is properly equipped to manage.

What is happening to OHSAS 18001?

ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001 as ‘the’ OH&S management system standard.

OHSAS 18001 – which was last revised in 2007 – will be withdrawn by ISO on publication of ISO 45001.  This means that Organisations which are currently certified to OHSAS 18001 will have a three year period to upgrade to ISO 45001, after which they will have to seek certification to ISO 45001:2018 from scratch.

What are the main changes between OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 45001:2018?

The most notable difference between the two standards is the use of the new ISO high level structure: Annex SL. This will bring a common structure to key management system standards (e.g. the quality management standard ISO 9001 and the environment management standard ISO 14001) and will make it easier for organisations to incorporate OH&S into their pre-existing management system and overall management processes.

ISO 45001:2018 also specifies the requirement to get all staff in the organisation involved in the OH&S management system. Front-line workers are exposed to the most risk on a day-to-day basis and thus, worker participation should form an important role in ensuring risks are managed effectively.

As well as worker participation, the new standard also focuses on top management buy-in and commitment, without which, a OH&S management system is highly likely to fail.

ISO 45001:2018 places emphasis on the use of performance indicators to track improvement and ensure continual improvement is at the core of the organisation.

What can I do to learn more about ISO 45001?

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