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ISO 45001 : The new international standard for Occupational Health & Safety

What’s ISO 45001?

ISO 45001:2018 is the replacement to OHSAS 18001 and is the international ISO standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS).

Not only has the standard superseded OHSAS 18001, it makes integration with other management systems simpler than ever before; because it shares the new common structure defined by Annex SL, it is directly aligned with the 2015 versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

ISO 45001 will bring OH&S management and continual improvement into the core of an organisation. This new standard is an opportunity for organisations to align their OH&S management system with their strategic direction.

Implications & Migration to ISO 45001

If you have certification to OHSAS 18001 you will need to migrate to ISO 45001 to maintain the validity of certification.

There is a 3-year migration period so there is time to plan your move over to ISO 45001 

What’s new?

The clauses map those in other international standards:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership [and worker participation]
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

Main differences between ISO 45001 & BS OHS 18001

Focus on:

  • The context in which the organisation operates
  • The engagement of leadership in delivering H&S
  • Providing evidence through documented information


  • Worker participation
  • Continual improvement
  • Hierarchy of control
  • Risk and opportunities
  • Compliance status
  • Supply chain
  • KPIs

What will be the benefits of using ISO 45001?

An ISO 45001 based OH&S management system will enable an organisation to improve its OH&S performance by:

  • Developing and implementing an OH&S policy and OH&S objectives
  • Establishing systematic processes which consider its ‘context’ and which take into account its risks and opportunities, and its legal and other requirements
  • Determining the hazards and OH&S risks associated with its activities; seeking to eliminate them, or putting in controls to minimize their potential effects
  • Establishing operational controls to manage its OH&S risks and its legal and other requirements
  • Increasing awareness of its OH&S risks
  • Evaluating its OH&S performance and seeking to improve it, through taking appropriate actions
  • Ensuring workers take an active role in OH&S matters

In combination, these measures will ensure that an organisation’s reputation as a safe place to work will be promoted, and can have more direct benefits, such as:

  • Improving its ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues
  • Reducing the overall costs of incidents
  • Reducing downtime and the costs of disruption to operations
  • Reducing the cost of insurance premiums
  • Reducing absenteeism and employee turnover rates
  • Recognition for having achieved an international benchmark (which may in turn influence customers who are concerned about their social responsibilities)

The next steps:

Once you decide that certification is right for you, the first steps include learning more about ISO 45001 and then establishing how your organisation compares against the requirements of the standard. This helps identify any gaps or weaknesses in your current health and safety management system, so you can assess what work is required to achieve certification.

If you require any further information or assistance in carrying out a ISO 45001 Gap Analysis or implementing ISO 45001 please contact ProAktive on 01302 341344.

By Ken Stevens CMIOSH – Risk Services Manager

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