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June 10, 2021

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ISO 45003

ISO 45003: World’s first international workplace mental health Standard published

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published BS ISO 45003:2021: Occupational Health and Safety Management. Psychological Health and Safety at Work. Guidelines for Managing Psychosocial Risks.

stressTo help organisations prioritise people by supporting the mental health of workers, this British Standard aims to provide simple, practical guidance on how to manage the psychosocial hazards that arise in the work environment and that challenge health, safety and well-being at work.

It is aimed at all types and sizes of organisation, across all sectors. Specific users will include:

  • Line managers
  • HR staff
  • Business owners
  • CEOs and board members.


BS ISO 45003:2021 sets out guidelines for managing psychosocial risk within an occupational health and safety (OH and S) management system based on BS ISO 45001:2018. It enables organisations to prevent work-related injury and ill health of their workers and other interested parties, and to promote well-being at work.

It covers the development, implementation, maintenance and continual improvement of healthy and safe workplaces.

It is noted that BS ISO 45003:2021 aligns with and will help BS ISO 45001 users to manage psychological as well as physical health and safety. However, the standard has been written so that non-users of BS ISO 45001 can still follow the advice given.

Benefits of using BS ISO 45003:2021

This new standard is a tool that anyone can use to prioritise the people within an organisation. It aims to help:

  • Identify where psychosocial risks arise and how they can be mitigated or eliminated.
  • Users develop expertise.
  • Increase people’s trust.
  • Manage risk better.

By preventing work-related ill-health, organisations can benefit from:

  • Improved worker engagement.
  • Enhanced productivity and higher levels of discretionary effort.
  • Increased innovation.
  • Greater organizational resilience and legal compliance.

Conversely, BSI suggests that the costs of not prioritising people and their psychosocial health can lead to:

  • Poor health, including cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Poor health behaviours, including substance abuse and unhealthy eating.
  • Reduced job satisfaction, commitment and performance.
  • Increased absence from workplace stress, burnout, anxiety and depression.
  • Higher costs for the organization due to negative impacts on turnover, productivity, quality, training and recruitment.
  • Higher costs from workplace investigations, litigation and reputational damage.

BS ISO 45003:2021 is available here.

Safety & Health Podcast

In this episode, we hear from Peter Kelly, Senior Psychologist for the Health and Safety Executive about work-related stress. Peter has been working closely with the BSI on the new ISO45003 Standard.

Subscribe and tune in the Safety & Health Podcast to discover the latest issues facing the health and safety profession, and stay on-top of the developments affecting your role, from working at height, lone working and common workplace hazards, to safety culture, behaviours, occupational health and mental health and wellbeing.

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