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Safety First!

March 17, 2018

ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System


Construction is a dangerous business, it comes with inherent risks to life. To emphasize this point:


• 2.2 million workers lose their lives globally every year due to work-related accidents and diseases¹

• 4% of the world’s GNP is lost due to work related accidents and diseases2

• 6,300 workers die every day as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases3

• 26.4 million UK working days were lost due to work related illnesses and workplace injuries4

• Injuries and new cases of ill health in the UK from current working conditions cost society an estimated £14.2 billion in 2012/134

1 US Department of Labor Report 2013

2 Global and Asian trends for Safety and Health at Work 2006

3 Intl Labour Organization



With the need for a globally harmonised occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) that’s suitable for all business sectors and sizes, the decision was taken by the ISO Project committee to develop ISO 45001. Its anticipated that third party certification to this standard will have international significance, clearly demonstrating OHS best practice across countries, cultures and continents.


What is at the core of the New Standard?


Hazard identification

The new standard will move away from the definition of ‘hazard identification’ as this is a concept that relates mostly to manufacturing and doesn’t really apply to some sectors such as the service industry. The terms used will be ‘risk identification’ and ‘risk control’ to encompass a broader concept than hazard identification.



The fundamental concept of ‘risk’ will remain the same and organisations must continue to assess the likelihood and consequences of a particular hazard. The major change here is the need to understand ‘risk’ in the wider context of the management system, for example, those tasks that are outsourced.


Worker / workplace

Definitions of ‘workers’ and ‘workplaces’ vary in different countries. Clarification of the definition of employees, non-employees and workplaces are included in the new standard to ensure, clearly, which comes under the scope of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS).


Legal and other requirements

‘Compliance obligations’ replaces ‘legal and other requirements’ to emphasise one of the most important elements of an OHSMS, ensuring an organisation is proactively fulfilling its obligations

under the law.


Preventive action

‘Preventive action’ is excluded from the standard as it’s perceived as unnecessary. The OHSMS itself is intended to prevent accidents and incidents from occurring so ‘preventive action’ has become redundant.


Documents and records

‘Documents and records’ will be referred to as ‘documented information’ to better reflect the modern

way in which organisations operate across the digital environment and with processed data.


OHS will need to be embodied in the overall administration of an organisation with stronger buy-in from its management and leadership. The integration of OHS aspects must be entirely included in the organisation’s operations and core organisational processes. OHS performance is to be considered in the strategic planning process and organisations will need to build links between the OHS strategy / risks and the overall business strategy / risks.



The primary function of OHSAS 18001 was to keep people safe and to maintain compliance. ISO 45001 isn’t different in this regard; it just goes about addressing these two objectives in a slightly more realistic way. An excellent example of this is the requirement to set OHS key performance indicators that clearly identify trends in OHS parameters which can be used to implement practical safety measures. Key performance indicators (KPIs) must be specific, measurable, achievable, responsibility assigned, time bound, evaluated and regularly reviewed (SMARTER).


The Benefits of Implementing ISO 45001:2018

The benefits to an effective OHSMS are proven and will only be augmented when driven by a more relevant, clearly outlined management system. ISO 45001 encourages organisations to quantify the benefits in financial terms looking at the comprehensive added value. This should be relatively straightforward as a robust OHSMS will reduce the risk of causing harm to people at work, helping organisations reduce accidents and ill health and avoid the potential for costly prosecutions.


A key benefit of ISO 45001 is that certification will be meaningful around the world as the standard has been developed to address the globalisation of organisations. The standard will link like-minded organisations that have prioritised excellent OHS performance as an essential part of doing business.


Furthermore, the Annex SL will ensure that ISO managements systems can be integrated much easier as a significant proportion of all ISO standards will eventually be built on the same framework. The ultimate beneficial outcome of an organisation that demonstrates excellent OHS performance is the creation of a culture of positivity. If people are safe and welfare is properly managed they’re typically more content, engaged and productive.


For more information on how we can help you implement the new ISO 45001:2018 or transition from 18001:2007 to ISO 45001:2018 email:

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