ISO 45001 – Occupational Health and Safety

ISO 45001 – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

ISO 45001, the Occupational Health and Safety Management systems standard has replaced OHSAS 18001. Issued in March 2018, any organisations certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to transition to the ISO standard by March 2021.

The new standard is designed to increase identification of risk and opportunity for improvement within the host organisation and increase involvement in the management of Occupational Health & Safety at all levels.

The ISO 45001 Standard

Organisations are responsible for the occupational health and safety of their employees and third parties that may be affected by their activities including the protection and promotion of both physical and mental health.

Given this responsibility, the establishment of a system to manage occupational health and safety enables an organisation to provide healthy and safe workplaces, secure continual improvement in its occupational health and safety performance in order to prevent ill health plus work related accidents and injuries

ISO 45001 – Objectives

The aim of an ISO 45001 health and safety management system is to manage health and safety risks by providing a process framework. The intent of an occupational health and safety management system is the provision of healthy and safe workplaces and employee ill health or workplace related injuries. As a consequence, it’s vitally important for organisations to minimise risks and eliminate hazards by implementing effective prevention and protection measures.

The end result of deploying these measures throughout an organisation’s occupational health and safety management system in an improvement in its health and safety performance. The implementation of “early” activities to exploit opportunities for improving health and safety performance will result in an organisation’s occupational health and safety management system becoming more efficient and thus effective.

Implementation of an occupational health and safety management system which conforms to ISO 45001 will enable any organisation to better manage health and safety risks and improve its health and safety performance. In addition, an ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management system can also help organisation’s fulfil legal requirements.

ISO 45001 – Success Factors

Implementing ISO 45001 is a decision covering both strategic and operational aspects of an organisation’s activity. Ultimately, the success of any ISO 45001 implementation will depend on the following from every employee and management function in an organisation:

The effectiveness of an ISO 45001 health and safety management system and its capability to achieve the desired results is dependent on several key issues concerning its implementation and ongoing maintenance.

Attainment of the ISO 45001 standard does not guarantee to provide healthy and safe workplaces or the prevention of ill health, accidents and injuries to employees. This can only be achieved by:

  • Senior management’s creation and promotion of a culture that underpins the intended outcomes of the health and safety
  • Leadership, accountability & commitment
  • Consultation with and participation of workers all employees
  • Good communication throughout all levels in the organisation
  • Allocation of adequate resources to maintain the health and safety system
  • Effective procedures for the identification of hazards, managing health and safety risks as well as exploiting opportunities to further improve health and safety in the organisation
  • Continuous evaluation of performance and system monitoring to improve health and safety
  • Fully integrate the ISO 45001 system throughout the organisation’s processes
  • Complying with all relevant legal requirements