ISO 45001:2018 Explained

ISO 45001:2018 Explained

  • Date: Thursday 22nd March 2018
  • PDF: Download

What is it?

ISO 45001:2018 is the new international standard for occupational health and safety management systems.  It was finally launched on Monday 12th March following the release of two draft standards and after considerable delay from the original planned launch date. 

The ISO 45001:2018 standard replaces BS OHSAS 18001:2007 and a three-year transition period is now underway for companies already certified to OHSAS 18001.

What does it cover?

The new standard brings OH&S management into the same common, high-level ‘Annex SL’ framework as the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards which were launched back in September 2015.  The core requirements have therefore now changed to align with these other standards, making integration into a single, more efficient system far easier to achieve.

This doesn’t mean that there will need to be a complete re-write – many of the requirements of OHSAS 18001:2007 (e.g. Policy, Objectives, Internal Audit, Management Review etc) have been retained in the new standard, with very few changes and with additional or modified requirements.

Companies must now place a greater emphasis on planning for their OH&S system, specifically considering the internal and external factors affecting it and how it can support and align with the strategic direction of the business. 

Through effective leadership demonstrated across the system, top management must now prove they are ‘weaving H&S into the fabric of the business’, both strategically and operationally, and not just ‘bolting it on’ as some companies may have in the past.

A greater significance has been placed on the value of worker participation in OH&S management, with specific clauses now including the explicit need to consider and consult workers when establishing, implementing and maintaining the OH&S management system. 

A new, extended clause relating to risks and opportunities has ‘unpacked’ this area into more than just work activity risk assessment – the system itself, as well as activities, changes in legislation and the constantly evolving business environment must also be considered.  The aim is to identify and plan to respond to both risks and opportunities (negatives and positives) to ensure that effective control and improvement are achieved and maintained.

Many of the UK legal duties placed on employers and employees also now feature, such as the need to coordinate OH&S with other companies in multi-employer workplaces, enhanced requirements for working with third-parties and the need for employees to take responsibility for aspects of OH&S management over which they have influence or control.

How can SSG help my company work towards certification to ISO 45001:2018?

SSG offers a team of professional, qualified and experienced consultants who work closely with customers to ensure the introduction of a management system genuinely adds tangible value to their business and is not ‘just a certificate on the wall’.

Should your company already hold certification to OHSAS 18001:2007 SSG can offer a gap analysis and transition support consultancy package.  This focuses on the amended and new elements introduced by ISO 45001:2018 and provides a customised action plan, along with a proposal for support in making the transition before the three-year window expires.

Source: Chris Prior, SSG

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