For businesses who have adopted management systems from the vast suite of international and British standards, or if you are already subscribers to our quarterly newsletters, then you will probably already know about the recently introduced ISO 45001 standard for occupational health and safety management systems. In this article we will help to explain some of the changes in relation to its predecessor OHSAS 18001.

Why Has 18001 Been Replaced?

OHSAS 18001 was last updated in 2007 and was falling behind the times of how organisations operate today. ISO 45001 has been structured in the same way as ISO 9001:2015 (quality) and ISO 14001:2015 (environmental) management systems. All three standards now follow Annex SL – which is the standard for setting standards. The theory behind this is for organisations to seamlessly integrate two or more ISO standards into their business processes.

What Has Changed?

Besides the format of the standard now more ‘user friendly’ there are several differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001. The following are a few examples of what will need to be considered within your processes to meet the requirements of the new standard.

Understanding your organisation and its context

What drives the culture of your business and what factors or conditions effect how you operate. E.g. regulation, governance, and stakeholders.

Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

Who is interested in how you operate, and why? Workers, customers, competitors, regulators, board members, and local communities may all have an interest in your business. What are the risks and/or opportunities associated with those interests, and how do you manage them.

Eliminating hazards and reducing occupational health and safety risks

45001 describes the hierarchy of control relating to risk management. These principles will need to be followed when considering your business risks. How are controls and communication established when outsourcing certain processes or when using contractors?

Leadership, participation and consultation

Greater emphasis has been placed on leaders to ensure the consultation with, and the participation of, the workers to protect them and improve performance.

What Are The Benefits?

Adopting a structured occupational health and safety management system can provide a number of benefits to your business. Including:

  • Preventing injury and ill-health by identifying workplace hazards and implementing preventative control measures.
  • Reducing lost time from accidents – resulting in cost saving.
  • Instilling a positive safety culture by engaging the workforce with decision making.
  • Helping to provide assurances to your supply chain and potential customers that health and safety is part of your fundamental business processes.
  • Ensures compliance to applicable legal requirements are evaluated and maintained.
  • Prepares the business by having procedures in place should anything go wrong.
  • Reviewing your processes and controls to ensure the continual improvement of the system.

What’s Next?

All of our clients who have 9001 and or 14001 have already transitioned to the new standards and the migration from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 will be integrated into their current systems over the next 12 – 24 months. OHSAS 18001 certificates will remain valid until March 2021.

For businesses interested in adopting a management system to any of these standards – including 45001. You can contact Tony Finazzi on or call 0845 163 4444 to discuss how we can help.