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ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use

  • Written by ISO
  • Published in Articles

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently more than 2.78 million deaths a year as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases, in addition to 374 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses. Aside from the enormous impact on families and communities, the cost to business and economies is significant. ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, is the world’s first International Standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S).

It provides a framework to increase safety, reduce workplace risks and enhance health and well-being at work, enabling an organization to proactively improve its OH&S performance.

Who is ISO 45001 for ?

ISO 45001 is applicable to all organizations, regardless of size, industry or nature of business.

It is designed to be integrated into an organization’s existing management processes and follows the same high-level structure as other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management).

What are the benefits for my business ?

ISO 45001 enables organizations to put in place an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. This will help them manage their OH&S risks and improve their OH&S performance by developing and implementing effective policies and objectives. Key potential benefits from use of the standard include :

  • Reduction of workplace incidents
  • Reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, leading to increased productivity
  • Reduced cost of insurance premiums
  • Creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own OH&S
  • Reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve OH&S performance
  • Ability to meet legal and regulatory requirements
  • Enhanced reputation
  • Improved staff morale

How does it differ from other OH&S standards ? ISO 45001 was developed with consideration of other related standards, such as OHSAS 18001, Occupational health and safety management, the International Labour Organization’s ILO -OSH 2001 guidelines and various national standards, and is consistent with the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions. Developed under the ISO system, with the input of experts from more than 70 countries, it provides an international framework that takes into account the interaction between an organization and its business environment. ISO 45001 adopts a risk-based approach that ensures it is effective and undergoes continual improvement to meet an organization’s ever-changing context.

Can I integrate ISO 45001 into my existing management system ?

ISO 45001 shares a high-level structure (HLS), identical core text and terms and definitions with other recently revised ISO management system standards such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015. This framework is designed to facilitate the integration of new management topics into an organization’s established management systems. In addition, ISO 45001 was designed to follow ISO 14001 fairly closely, as it is recognized that many organizations combine their OH&S and environmental management functions internally. This will simplify the integration of ISO 45001, particularly for those who are familiar with ISO 14001.

What about certification?

Certification to ISO 45001 is not a requirement of the standard but can be a useful tool to demonstrate that you meet its criteria. If you are already certified to OHSAS 18001, and while it is a very different standard, you will already have some of the necessary tools and systems in place to implement ISO 45001.

How do I get started?

If you are considering implementing ISO 45001, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Perform an analysis of your organization’s context that is relevant to OH&S (such as interested parties) as well as the internal and external factors that might impact your business.
  2. Establish the scope of the system, considering what you would like your management system to achieve.
  3. Set your OH&S policy and objectives.
  4. Define the time frame in which you wish to implement your system and plan how to achieve it.
  5. Determine any competence and/or resource gaps that need addressing before you can implement the standard.

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