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ISO 45001

ISO 45001 enables organizations to put in place an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. ISO 45001 replaced OHSAS 18001 and sets minimum standards of practice to protect employees worldwide.

Who is it for: ISO 45001 is applicable to all organizations, regardless of size, industry or nature of business. It is designed to be integrated into an organization’s existing management processes and follows the same high-level structure as other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management). An organization not desiring to pursue formal certification can still use ISO 45001 standards of practice to ensure an effective safety and health managements system.

What are the benefits: ISO 45001 helps organizations manage their OH&S risks and improve their OH&S performance by developing and implementing effective policies and objectives.


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Clause 4 – Context of the Organization

Requirements in this clause are critical to successfully implementing ISO 45001, and look to understand how the organization determines and understands internal and external factors, needs, and expectations of worker and interested parties to determine the scope of its OH&SMS.

Clause 5 – Leadership & Worker Participation

This clause and sub-elements describes how the organization’s top management display commitment to the OH&SMS. Leadership does not need to perform all the activities themselves, but are accountable for ensuring they are performed. The clause also establishes and ensures policy, roles, responsibilities, accountability and consultation, and participation with workers are defined and support OH&SMS.

Clause 6 – Planning

Planning is also key in conforming to ISO 45001 requirements. Planning is not a single event but an ongoing process, requiring an organization to consider its context, interested parties, and scope when developing and executing an OH&SMS and taking input from other areas of your management system.

The requirements oblige the organization to identify the risks and opportunities with the potential to impact (positively or negatively) the operations and performance of the OH&SMS. Given this flow of information is critical to successfully implementing an OH&SMS, organizations need to pay close attention to what is being asked in this clause.

Clause 7 – Support

The Support clause focuses on the ‘soft’ tools assisting in the delivery of an effective management system. Organizations with a management system of any type already implemented will be familiar with these concepts. Requirements cover the traditional areas of resources, competence, awareness, communication, documents and records (documented information).

Clause 8 – Operation

This clause lays out the requirements for operational planning and control, emergency preparedness and responsiveness. Within the operational planning and control, it specifies particular requirements for eliminating hazards and reducing OH&S risks, management of change, procurement, and outsourcing.

Clause 9 – Performance Evaluation

In simplest terms, this clause states the organization shall “establish, implement and maintain a process(es) for monitoring, measurement, analysis and performance evaluation.” Organizations need to determine what needs measured, and the methods, criteria, and manners for conducting and measuring performance and conformance.

Clause 10 – Improvement

This clause requires “Organization shall determine opportunities for improvement” and includes such topics as incidents, nonconformities, corrective actions, and continual improvement activities. Implementing and sustaining OHSMS criteria is an ongoing process – there is no end point. This clause details how to continually identify areas needing improvement over time and create corrective action plans to make the OHSMS as effective as possible.

Annex A – Guidance

Annex A includes further explanatory information for each clause with the intent of preventing misinterpretation and providing guidance of use of the document itself. The annex provides clarification on ISO requirements and examples of how to employ the 45001 criteria. Annex A can be beneficial in answering some questions on the components outlined in the standard and also notes the need to view the document from a systems perspective, as there are numerous interrelationships between the requirements in different clauses.