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ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Guidance for use

ISO 45001, the long-awaited new international standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OHSMS) received overwhelming approval in the final ballot on the second draft (ISO 45001.2) in January 2018. The standard was first proposed in March 2013 and is due to be published 12th March 2018. Its development has involved an international group of health and safety experts from a range of countries.

The new standard will align with ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environment Management). This has been achieved by using a 'high level structure' (i.e. clauses, sequence, common text and terminology). This is great news for any organisation seeking to integrate its management systems. It has also been designed to work with any organisation, regardless of size or the nature of the work, to enable the organisation to proactively improve its OHS performance in preventing injury and ill-health. Furthermore, the new standard can be integrated into other health and safety programmes, such as worker wellness and wellbeing.

There is a direct correlation between the well-known 'plan-do-check-act' model and the framework of the new standard. At its core lies:

  • Leadership and worker participation;
  • Planning;
  • Support and Operation;
  • Performance Evaluation; and
  • Improvement.

The new standard aims to improve employee health and safety by systematically reducing health and safety risks and creating healthier, safer working conditions.

A summary of the main topics in the standard are detailed below.

Context of the organisation:

  • Understanding the organization and its context;
  • Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties;
  • Determining the scope of the OHS management system; and
  • OHS management system.

Leadership and worker participation:

  • Leadership and commitment;
  • OHS policy; and
  • Organizational roles, responsibilities, authorities, consultation and participation of workers.


  • Actions to address risks and opportunities; and
  • OHS objectives and planning to achieve them.


  • Resources;
  • Competence;
  • Awareness;
  • Communication; and
  • Documented information.


  • Operational planning and control; and
  • Emergency preparedness and response. 

Performance evaluation:

  • Monitoring, measurement, analysis and performance evaluation;
  • Internal audit; and
  • Management review.


  • Incident, nonconformity and corrective action; and
  • Continual improvement.

The new standard should fulfil a worldwide need to harmonise health and safety management systems using an international standard and share best practices. ISO 45001 is a great opportunity to further improve occupational health and safety performance.

For further information https://www.iso.org/iso-45001-occupational-health-and-safety.html


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