What is ISO 45001 And How Will It Be Used?

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ISO 45001 is the new international standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). It was published in 2018 and is designed to replace OHSAS 18001.

All organisations using OHSAS 18001 have a set timeframe during which they need to migrate their occupational health and safety management system to ISO 45001 and this period expires in September 2021

Here at JR Consultants we are already currently upgrading all of our clients that currently have OHSAS 18001 to ensure full compliance to the ISO 45001 standard is in place by September 2021

This means that with OHSAS 18001, and the soon to follow ISO 45001 certification programme, your business will have all it needs to remain compliant.

What is the difference between OHSAS 18001 and 45001?

There are many differences between OHSAS 18001 and 45001 but some of the most important ones include;

  • Whereas OHSAS 18001 was more focused on recognising and controlling potential hazards, ISO 45001 emphasises the need for identifying and managing risks.
  • ISO 45001 widens the scope of the system to impact the business as a whole rather than just a few elements.
  • Organisations with OHSAS 8001 would typically have a delegated manager to take on the required safety responsibilities. ISO 45001 focuses on integrating the system into daily operations, encouraging top management to take a more active leadership role in regards to the OH&S management system.
  • ISO 45001 has a next generation management system structure that helps to facilitate the harmonious implementation and integration of processes and procedures for several management systems together.
  • There are new definitions set out for some terms and the new standard calls for relevant information to be properly documented to prove that processes have been carried out as required.

However, in spite of these changes the overall aim of ISO 45001 has not changed from that of 8001, to help ensure the safety and wellbeing everybody involved with the organisation by reducing unacceptable risks and improving working conditions.

Is ISO 45001 Mandatory?

In the UK, businesses are not required by law to implement ISO 45001 or other similar management standards. However, they are widely regarded as an international hallmark of quality, implemented by organisations looking to improve their current occupational health and safety offerings.

For companies that are hoping to work internationally or wish to demonstrate compliance with global standards of Health and Safety in the workplace, implementing ISO 45001 standards could prove to be extremely useful.

If a company is currently accredited with the OHSAS 18001 standard, then they will need to migrate across to ISO 45001 in order to retain the recognised certification. For businesses who strive for progress and are looking to continually improve their systems, an effective OH&S management system is paramount and ensuring they complete their migration ahead of time is key.

What are the benefits of ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 provides the vital structures that allow organisations to make the necessary changes needed to improve safety, reduce workplace risks and enhance overall employee health and well-being.

By implementing this efficient management system, businesses not only better protect their employees but also improve processes and increase profitability.

Some of the key benefits of ISO 45001 include;


  • Properly develop as well as implement policy and objectives pertaining to the OH&S management system.
  • Determine risks and hazards associated with OH&S; eliminate them accordingly or put active controls in place to minimise potential effects.
  • Establishment of systematic processes and operational controls which primarily consider operational “context”, accounting for risks and opportunities, including legal and other business requirements.
  • Increase awareness of all OH&S risks; establish operational controls to manage those risks.
  • Helps to encourage employees of all levels to take active part in OH&S matters.
  • Downtime and disruptions to operations reduced
  • Reduction in staff absences and lower employee turnover
  • Savings made from lower insurance premiums
  • Results in fewer incidents and improved overall safety
  • Decreased work related sickness and health issues
  • Reach new potential markets
  • An enhanced reputation with potential clients, new business and staff

What are the Requirements of ISO 45001?

In order to meet the required standards of ISO 45001, businesses need to successfully implement the suggested framework, processes, practices and systems.

ISO 45001 follows the high level structure of Annex SL which incorporates 10 clauses in total, 3 introductory clauses and 7 main clauses. Each with sub-elements intended to define how the processes under each specific discipline are implemented.

1 – Scope

2 – Normative References

3 – Terms and Definitions

4 – Context of the organization

5 – Leadership and worker participation

6 – Planning

7 – Support

8 – Operation

9 – Performance evaluation

10 – Improvement

Working on the principles of ‘Plan – Do – Act – Check’ also referred to as the PDAC cycle, this concept is a vital undertaking to ensure the continuous evaluating and improving of processes and procedures at every stage.

This standard shifts the responsibility of upholding the standard to just one or two designated people and instead requires a much broader, central focus to be taken on by upper management. The success of this ISO relies on the top management personnel to lead by example and take an active role in communicating to employees the key information and objectives.

Comprehensive documentation of procedures and policies at all stages is necessary to demonstrate that the activities have been carried out as planned and provide vital records for reviewing and auditing the system and successfully achieving certification.

What Does ISO 45001 Certified Mean?

Having a robust health and safety management system is imperative for business to help protect their employees, customers, clients and contractors. ISO 45001 is an internationally recognised management system which helps organisations to better manage potential risks, prevent accidents and meet legal requirements.

Following the implementation of the required ISO 45001 standards, a certified body is required to perform an official audit which allows them to determine if the organisation is fully compliant with the requirements of the standard. If successful, the result is ISO 45001 certification or being ‘ISO 45001 certified.

Certification lasts for 3 years and will be subject to mandatory audits every 12 months to ensure that the business remains compliant. At the end of the 3 years, the business will be required to complete a reassessment audit in order to become recertified to the standard.

Executing the requirements of an ISO standard can be very challenging, time consuming and demanding – which is where JR Consultants can help. Our team are experts in ISO and provide businesses with the guidance, knowledge and advice the need to identify the objectives and processes they need to implement and address. If you’d like to find out more or speak to someone about your needs then please do not hesitate to contact us.

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