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International and Australian/ New Zealand Standards for Occupational Health and Safety

For nearly twenty years now organisations aiming to improve Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in Australia and New Zealand have been able to certify to AS/NZS 4801:2001, Occupational health and safety management systems Specification with guidance for use.

AS/NZS 4801:2001 contains the following elements

  • OHS Policy
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Measurement and evaluation
  • Management review

AS/NZS 4801:2001 is now classified as 'available superseded' on the SAI Global website. This has been seemingly inevitable since the International Standards Organisation (ISO) developed a standard aiming to help organisations to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.

This newer standard is ISO 45001:2018, Occupational health and safety management systems Requirements with guidance for use and it was released in March 2018. The standard was adopted in Australia in October 2018 as AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018.

AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 contains the following elements

  • Context
  • Leadership and worker participation
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

In effect, Australian and New Zealand organisations could either choose to go local or go global depending on their requirements. AS/NZS 4801:2001 is likely to remain popular for the time being because it is referenced in existing Australian legislation and regulations. It is up to government authorities to determine whether available superseded standards should remain referenced in legislation.  Over time it will be interesting to see what factors cause organisations to migrate to the newer global standard and further, towards integrated management systems.

Further details on AS/NZS 4801:2001 https://www.standards.org.au/standards-catalogue/sa-snz/publicsafety/sf-001/as-slash-nzs--4801-2001

Further details on AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 https://www.standards.org.au/standards-catalogue/sa-snz/publicsafety/sf-001/as-slash-nzs--iso--45001-colon-2018

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