Head Of Training, SHP Online

July 13, 2016

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In conversation: ISO 45001

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As part of this month’s focus on standards, Sally Swingewood, Lead Programme Manager, Governance & Resilience Sector, British Standards Institute (BSI) answers SHP’s questions about ISO 45001.

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 will be the first truly international standard for managing occupational health and safety. It is a set of requirements which provide organizations with a framework to build an effective management system to cater to their own particular OH&S needs.

How will ISO 45001 differ from OHSAS 18001?

The new standard has been drafted in line with all of the other major ISO management system standards, using the same structure and core requirements, making implementation of multiple management system standards simpler for users. It is both more rigorous and more flexible than OHSAS 18001, putting more emphasis on the role of top management and involvement of workers at all levels, whilst requiring organizations to prioritize what is important in their particular context. There are fewer requirements for specific types of documented information, allowing each organization to develop a customised system.

If we have already achieved 18001 status how will that transfer?

Once ISO 45001 publishes there will be a three year period to migrate from OHSAS 18001. Organizations certified to OHSAS 18001 should use that three year period to evolve their current OH&S management system to meet the requirements of the new standard. We would encourage users to begin working towards this sooner rather than later, using the latest draft as a basis for understanding the core requirements, which are unlikely to change in the final stages of drafting. Many of the requirements in the two standards are alike so it is sensible to begin by conducting a gap analysis to identify those areas which need the most work.

We hear there are delays on ISO 45001 can you explain more?

The draft international standard was published for public consultation in the first half of 2016 and every country involved was asked to vote on whether they approved the draft to go forward to publication. Despite receiving over 70% approval, the ballot failed because it received a few too many negative votes. The experts involved are now working to resolve the critical issues which led to those negative votes. Once redrafting has taken place there will be a second draft international standard which will go to ballot early in 2017. For ISO 45001 to have a positive long-term impact it is important for a high level of consensus to be reached, so that stakeholders in as many countries as possible are satisfied and willing to use the new standard.

What’s next for ISO 45001 and when can we expect to see the final version?

Experts from around the world will meet at the end of October 2016 to finalise and agree the second draft international standard. Following the ballot in spring 2017 the experts will meet again to consider any comments received, and if the ballot approves the draft users can expect to see the published standard in the second half of the year.

What is the benefit for companies of achieving ISO 450001?

Achieving ISO 45001 is likely to improve your OH&S performance – both short and long term. This not only means fewer incidents and accidents but improved worker health for years to come. Alongside the primary human benefits, putting ISO 45001 into an organization will help reduced productivity lost through incidents and workers being absent due to sickness. It will also protect companies from potentially disastrous legal action by ensuring that adequate planning takes place and measures implemented to protect workers from actual and foreseeable risks.  Because the standard employs risk-based thinking throughout and includes requirements for emergency planning it also helps build organizational resilience.

How can health and safety professionals learn more about starting on the road to achieving ISO accreditation?

BSI and other leading certification bodies offer free advice as well as more in-depth training to potential users of the standard and it is worth looking on relevant websites. Organizations already certified to OHSAS 18001 or another OH&S management system standard (such as  the Canadian Z1000 or the American Z10), should also talk to their existing certification body and ask what plans are in place for migrating from one standard to the other.

Visit the British Standards Institute here.

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T.Udayakumar
T.Udayakumar
5 years ago

Hi Lauren

Above details on ISO 45001 is very useful to understand the standard. Please keep me update the progress of the draft and publication of new ISO 45001 standard.

Thank you
T.Udayakumar