ISO 45001: Setting the requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS)

ISO 45001: Setting the requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS)

ISO 45001 is a standard that is currently under development which will set the requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS). This standard is inspired by the well-known OHSAS 18001 and is designed to help organizations around the world ensure a safer and healthier working environment for everyone involved in their activities.

ISO 45001 will focus on fundamental concepts like “risk”, “worker”, and “workplace”.

The first working draft of ISO 45001 was produced in October 2013. A committee from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is responsible for this standard’s development; however, a wide number of organizations from all around the globe are actively involved in contributing towards the standard, including the International Labor Organization (ILO).

ISO 45001 will continue to go through different stages until its publication, which is expected in 2016. If the process develops as planned, we will see the ISO / DIS 45001 in June 2015, a document that is open to comments from stakeholders. Later, the FDIS will be published, a preliminary text to the final version of the standard.



The draft standard, ISO / CD 45001, includes most of the requirements stated in OHSAS 18001 however the new standard will have a greater emphasis on the “context” of an organization as well as a stronger role for top management in the leadership of the OHSMS. Also, some fundamental concepts like “risk”, “worker”, and “workplace” will change. Compared to OHSAS18001, a significant change is that the focus of the system will not be in the identification of hazards, but in identifying risks and relevant controls.

Many organizations find themselves in the ethical obligation to improve their occupational health and safety performance.

Every day, more and more organizations worldwide are taking into account the needs of the people working for them; with over 2 million lives lost each year due to work-related accidents and diseases, many organizations find themselves in the ethical obligation to improve their occupational health and safety performance. By effectively implementing ISO 45001 a company can:

  • Reduce work-related accidents and diseases
  • Improve business performance (by reducing the direct and indirect costs associated with accidents and work-related illnesses)
  • Establish a responsible image
  • Comply with applicable legislation
  • Promote a culture of positivity among the workers in the organization

ISO 45001 will be compatible with ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environmental) management systems standards and it’s aim is to provide a tool for improving OHS performance that can be used by any organization (regardless of their size and nature), within any regulatory framework, in any country. This international standard will help organizations establish, implement and continuously improve an OHSMS that promotes a safer and healthier working environment for everyone involved.