All You Need To Know About ISO 45001

14 May 2018
ISO 45001-1

According to the International Labour Organisation, 2.78 million people die every year from work-related accidents or diseases (that's 7,600 deaths each day). Additionally, a further 374 million annual non-fatal injuries and illnesses take place.

The burden of these shocking statistics on employers and the wider economy is significant, not to mention the lasting personal impacts on families, friends and communities. Furthermore, all of these deaths, injuries and illnesses could have been prevented.

This is where the introduction of the eagerly awaited ISO 45001 comes in.

You can either carry on reading below or download the guide for later!

ISO 45001 - Changing Perceptions About Workplace Safety

ISO 45001:2018, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, was published on 12th March 2018. Over 70 countries were directly involved in the creation of the new standard, and it's the world's first international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S). It's believed that ISO 45001 will eventually replace up to 24 different standards across the globe.

ISO 45001 provides a single, clear framework for organisations of all sizes and industries to create healthier, safer workplaces for employees and visitors. The format of the standard adopts Annex SL, and as such follows the ISO high-level structure (HLS). Therefore it's terms and definitions will be familiar to those who've followed revisions to ISO 9001, 14001, 27001 and 55001.

The key to ISO 45001 is in its design, which focuses on avoiding workplace accidents and preventing long-term ill health at the same time. It also allows OH&S integration across the wider business, meaning health and safety is no longer acceptable as a stand-alone silo function. This comprehensive approach to OH&S demonstrates an intention to help organisations manage all their workplace risks so they can succeed and flourish in a safe manner that boosts productivity and sustainability.

ISO 45001 draws on many aspects from the former standard for OH&S (OHSAS 18001). However, ISO 45001 isn't just a revision or update on OHSAS 18001 - it's a completely new and distinct standard. As such, organisations will need to rethink their current work practices to ensure compliance with ISO 45001 if they wish to transition.

OHSAS 18001 vs ISO 45001

ISO 45001 dramatically shifts how health and safety management is viewed. Differences include:

  • OHSAS 18001 was procedure based, ISO 45001 is process based
  • OHSAS 18001 was static in its clauses, ISO 45001 is dynamic
  • OHSAS 18001 only focused on risk, ISO 45001 deals with both risk and opportunities
  • OHSAS 18001 didn't include the views of interested parties, ISO 45001 does

As such, the new standard requires organisations to take into account external and internal issues that impact on it, as well as expectations of workers and other interested parties.

"There are many differences, but the main change is that ISO 45001 concentrates on the interaction between an organization and its business environment while OHSAS 18001 was focused on managing OH&S hazards and other internal issues."

- Kristian Glaesel, Convenor of the group that developed ISO 45001, and Charles Corrie, Secretary of ISO/PC 283

ISO 45001 v2

When Is ISO 45001 Being Implemented?

The new standard is being steadily phased in over the next three years. Fortunately, although ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001 have their differences, any management system created to comply with OHSAS 18001 will be a great foundation for moving to ISO 45001.

However, there is no requirement to certify to an ISO management system standard. This means you only need to certify to ISO 45001 if you want to demonstrate to external parties that you've achieved full compliance with the standard - earning you extra credibility and recognition.

What Are The Benefits Of Certifying To ISO 45001?

  • It takes a risk-based approach (Plan, Do, Check, Act) to OH&S management, meaning it's effective and continually improved to meet the dynamic nature of modern workplaces
  • ISO 45001 ensures compliance with current legislation worldwide and allows integration with other essential management standards and systems
  • Your organisation will establish a reputation for being a safe place to work. This will boost staff morale, reduce workplace absences caused by accidents and ill health, and ultimately help you meet business targets
  • Reduced risk of insurance claims and regulatory action
  • A commercial advantage in tendering opportunities as many potential clients will require ISO 45001 certification as a condition of doing business

I Have OHSAS 18001 Accreditation. How Do I Move To ISO 45001?

ISO suggests following the steps below:

  1. Perform an analysis of interested parties in addition to internal and external factors which may affect your organisation.
  2. Consider how the above risks can be controlled through your management system.
  3. Set out the scope of the system and what your management system is trying to achieve.
  4. Use this information to develop your procedures, your risk assessment and your key performance indicators (KPIs).

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has developed migration requirements to help interested parties prepare, so we recommend checking them out for further information.

ISO 45001 v3

I Have An Integrated System Certified To ISO 9001 and 14001.
How Does ISO 45001 Work With These?

Due to using the HLS common framework mentioned earlier, much of ISO 45001 will feel familiar to those who already have ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditation. It also means ISO 45001 can easily integrate into existing management systems. In fact, the new standard is based closely on ISO 14001, as ISO are aware many organisations combine their OH&S with environmental functions.

I'm Completely New To ISO 45001. What Do I Do?

If you're entirely new to the HLS framework that ISO 45001 is based on, you may find the standard difficult to comprehend. This is due to all the interconnections between the clauses.

We recommend taking part in a training course, or enlisting consultancy services, to help you fully understand ISO 45001 and how best to comply.

You can also purchase ISO 45001 from your national ISO member (for the UK this is BSI) or via the ISO store.

Understanding ISO 45001: The Swift360 Guide

Many organisations are already achieving conformity to ISO 45001, having been independently assessed by BSI.

To help you keep up with ISO 45001 compliance, we've made a handy guide for you to download, read and share with colleagues and friends.