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ISO 45001

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 45001:2018, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, explains how organizations implement an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system (OH&SMS) and sets minimum standards of practice to protect employees globally. ISO 45001 replaced Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001, Occupational Health and Safety Management.

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 (e.g., ISO 9001, Quality Management, and ISO 14001, Environmental Management). An organization can implement ISO 45001 standards of practice for an effective safety and health managements system even if they do not want to pursue formal certification.

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

Click on the clauses graphics 1 through 10 below to jump to its description.


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Clause 4 – Context of the Organization

Requires organizations to explain how they determine and understand internal and external factors, needs, and expectations of worker and interested parties related to the scope of its OH&SMS.

Clause 5 – Leadership & Worker Participation

Describes how an organization’s management displays commitment to the OH&SMS. Leadership does not need to perform all the activities themselves; however, they are accountable for ensuring required activities are performed. It also establishes and ensures policy, roles, responsibilities, accountability and consultation, and worker participation are defined and supports the OH&SMS.

Clause 6 – Planning

Requires an organization to identify risks and opportunities with the potential to impact (positively or negatively) the operations and performance of the OH&SMS. This information is critical to successfully implementing an OH&SMS.

Planning is not a single event; rather, it’s an ongoing process requiring an organization to consider its context, interested parties, and scope when developing and executing an OH&SMS. It also involves input from other areas of your management system.

Clause 7 – Support

Focuses on the tools that help create an effective management system. Organizations already familiar with implementing a management system (e.g., quality or environmental) will understand these concepts. Requirements include capturing resources, competence, awareness, communication, documents, and records.

Clause 8 – Operation

Lists requirements for operational planning and control, emergency preparedness, and responsiveness. It specifies requirements for eliminating hazards and reducing OH&S risks, management of change, procurement, and outsourcing within the operational planning and control section.

Clause 9 – Performance Evaluation

States the organization shall “establish, implement and maintain a process(es) for monitoring, measurement, analysis and performance evaluation.” Organizations need to determine what information to measure (e.g., occupational health complaints, work-related injuries, effectiveness of controls, employee competences), and the methods, criteria, and manners for conducting and measuring performance and conformance.

Clause 10 – Improvement

Requires an organization determine opportunities for improvement (e.g., incidents, nonconformities, corrective actions, continual improvement activities). Implementing and sustaining OH&SMS criteria is an ongoing process – there is no finish line. This clause also details how to continually identify areas needing improvement and create corrective action plans to ensure the OH&SMS is as effective as possible.

Annex A – Guidance

Includes additional 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 lists examples of how to employ the 45001 criteria. Use Annex A to answer questions about the components outlined in the standard. It also explains the need to view the document from a systems perspective, as there are numerous interrelationships between the requirements in different clauses.