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Introduction to ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety

ISO 45001:2018 replaced OHSAS18001:2007 with the potential to save almost three million lives each year.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 7600 people die from work-related accidents or diseases every single day, there was a clear worldwide need to harmonize health and safety management systems, and a way of sharing best practices.

Introduced in March 2018 this international standard specifies requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System, with the intention of helping organisations improve the health and safety of employees and other personnel, and reduce the number of people who lose their lives at work each year.

Structured using wording and content from OHSAS 18001, BS8800 and ILO OSH 2001 occupational guidelines, where taken into consideration by ISO to assure businesses who were used to these older methods that the new standard would be similar, while delivering greater benefits:

  • Increased organizational resilience through proactive risk prevention, innovation and continual improvement
  • Strengthening of legal and regulatory compliance whilst reducing business losses
  • Demonstrates brand responsibility by committing to safe, healthy and sustainable work
  • One global occupational health and safety system for all businesses, of all sizes

With nearly 70 countries involved in developing ISO 45001:2018 it is applicable to any organisation, small medium and large enterprises, regardless of industry and activities performed.

Other than risks to workers and other interested parties, ISO 45001:2018 does not address product safety, property damage or environmental impacts.

ISO 45001:2018 can be used in whole or in part to systematically improve occupational health and safety management. However, claims of conformity to this document are not acceptable unless all its requirements are incorporated into an organization’s OH&S management system and fulfilled without exclusion.

What is ISO 45001:2018

Safety First

Although not required by law to implement ISO 45001 or similar management standards, can help provide a structured framework for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace, along with the promotion and protection of physical and mental health.

Based on Annex L framework used in other ISO management system standard, makes implementing ISO 45001 easier and more efficient.
It is designed to be integrated into an organization’s existing management processes, ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management.

OH&S Analysis
Perform an analysis of your organisations present day and future OH&S situation. Involve all interested parties including internal and external stakeholders.
To eliminate the root cause(s) of incidents and non-conformities to prevent injury and ill-health and provide safe and healthy workplace, organisations should identify and document risks and opportunities, then plan how to eliminate identified hazards.
Techniques like horizon scanning can be used to detect early signs of potential threats and opportunities, with emphasis on new technology.

Establish all the requirements for the OH&S management system and the intended outcomes, including clearly how your organisation intends preventing work-related injury and ill-health and the provision of safe and healthy workplaces.

Determine the internal and external factors that may affect the ability to achieve the intended outcomes.

  • Internally – staff, shareholders, restructuring, procurements, new products or services
  • Externally – contractors, social and economic (socio-economic), or legal authorities

Leadership and worker participation
Senior management is responsible and accountable for the prevention of work-related injury and ill health as well as the providing a safe and healthy workplace for all workers.

Management are responsible for OH&S policies and processes, this includes consultation and participation with workers in decision making.

Establishing a health and safety committee can prove to be beneficial in providing a forum especially for non-managerial workers enabling them to share ideas and give feedback without fear of reprisals.

Transitioning Process

OHSAS 18001 has been withdrawn, so organisations that still hold this certification need to migrate to ISO 45001 if they haven’t already done so as the deadline was 30 September 2021.

The full guide describes the process for transitioning

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