A Deeper Look at ISO 45001

ISO Standards, Management Systems

ISO PC 283 was inaugurated in London in October 2013 with the aim of developing ISO 45001, the international standard in occupational health and safety management. Its ultimate aim is to supplant OHSAS 18001:2007. In excess of 90,000 OHSAS 18001 certificates have been issued in 127 countries to date.

ISO/DIS 45001 was recently issued, with FDIS mooted for mid-year and it is anticipated that ISO 45001 will be published in early 2017.


ISO 45001

A number of significant changes have been introduced by ISO/DIS 45001, not least of which is the introduction of the Annex SL format and terminology. Annex SL was developed in order to ensure that all future ISO management system standards (including the putative ISO 45001) share a common format irrespective of the specific discipline to which they relate.

Annex SL prescribes a high-level structure, identical core text, and common terms and core definitions. The structure of each management system standard is modelled on the following principal clauses:

  • Clause 1 Scope
  • Clause 2 Normative references
  • Clause 3 Terms and definitions
  • Clause 4 Context of the organisation
  • Clause 5 Leadership
  • Clause 6 Planning
  • Clause 7 Support
  • Clause 8 Operation
  • Clause 9 Performance evaluation
  • Clause 10 Improvement

In the new disposition, the Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle is transposed as follows:

  • Clause 6: Planning (Plan)
  • Clause 7: Support and clause 8: Operation (Do)
  • Clause 9: Performance evaluation (Check)
  • Clause 10: Improvement (Act)

In addition, clause 4: Context of the organisation requires the company to determine the external and internal issues that are relevant to it and that affect its ability to achieve the intended outcomes of its health and safety management system (clause 4.1) and understand the needs and expectations its employees and other interested parties such as contractors, visitors, regulatory bodies, etc. (clause 4.2).

Clause 5: Leadership and worker participation requires a greater level of management involvement in promoting health and safety issues throughout the organisation.

I propose to highlight some of the major changes being proposed in the new standard and return to some of these changes in greater detail in subsequent blogs.

Clause Identification of OH&S opportunities and other opportunities requires the company to establish and maintain a process in order to identify opportunities to enhance its OH&S performance in addition to identifying hazards and conducting risk assessments (clause 6.1.2: Hazard identification and assessment of  OH&S risks).

Clause 7.5: Documented  information states that the company’s OH&S management system must include documented information required by ISO/DIS 45001 and documented information determined by the company as being necessary for the effectiveness of the health and safety management  system. The need to have documented procedures and manuals as required by OHSAS 18001 is no longer a mandatory requirement, although it is envisaged that many companies will persevere with them.

Clause 8: Operational control contains a number of new requirements that were not explicitly referenced in OHSAS 18001.

Clause 8.1.2: Hierarchy of controls mandates the company to establish a process for reducing health and safety risks by following a hierarchy of controls.

Under clause 8.2: Management of change companies must establish a process for the implementation and control of planned changes  that influence its health and safety performance such as inter alia the introduction of new products, processes, services or work practices.

Clause 8.3: Outsourcing requires the company to ensure that outsourced processes, which have an impact on its health and safety management system, are adequately controlled.

Clauses 8.4: Procurement and 8.5: Contractors obligates companies to establish controls on their procurement and contractor activities such that they conform to their health and safety management system requirements.

Finally, preventive action has been excised from the draft ISO 45001 standard. Incident, nonconformity and corrective action are addressed by clause 10.1.

I will return to some of these themes in further blogs.




Health & Safety , Integrated Management Systems , ISO , ISO 45001 , ISO Standard Update , ISO standards , Occupational Health & Safety , OHSAS 18001
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