What is ISO 45001:2018?

What is ISO 45001:2018?

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The standard ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use was published on Monday March 12th. This standard has been carefully developed for more than 4 years and it has been designed to provide organizations all around the world with a set of processes that will allow them to effectively improve work safety and reduce work related deaths, injuries and illnesses.

The requirements specified in this standard will help organizations develop and provide a safe and healthy workplace for everyone within the organization and across its supply chain. Because the standard has been developed with the participation of many stakeholders in over 70 countries it can be easily applied anywhere in the world and in all types of organizations such as captive and partner factories and production facilities.

ISO 45001 is a simple and clear document that avoids redundancies. Terms and definitions have been revised to make the standard easy to use. It also has brought some significant changes to Occupational health and Safety (OHS) management when compared with its predecessor OHSAS 18001. Some of the most relevant updates are:

  • ISO 45001 has the high level (HL) structure of the new ISO standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, which will facilitate integration with other ISO management systems.
  • The ISO 45001 standard goes beyond work health and safety and it also considers the well-being of workers.
  • Organizational context has great importance when it comes to planning and implementing the OHS management system.
  • There is a greater focus on the needs and expectations of workers and the participation of workers at all levels has an increased importance.
  • The concepts of risks and opportunities have been incorporated. Organizations will have to identify, assess and take action to address any factors that could influence its ability to achieve the proposed goals.
  • The system´s foundation lies on leadership, management commitment and the involvement of all workers.
  • There is a greater emphasis on improvement and on the development of indicators. These should provide evidence of improvement and demonstrate the accomplishment of goals.
  • Operational control goes deeper into the requirements for controls, change management, procurement, outsourced processes, and contractors.

ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001:2007, and even though certification of conformity is not a requirement of the new standard, organizations can now begin the process of implementing an OHS management systems that will assist them in the improvement of their OHS performance.

Those organizations holding an OHSAS 18001 certification will have a 3 year transition period to implement and comply with ISO 45001:2018.


Overall, there are many things organizations will need to consider with the release of this new standard but the most important point to keep in mind is that for ISO 45001, achieving a better, safer and healthier workplace will come with the involvement of everyone within an organization. Thus, any organization wishing to succeed in the implementation of this standard will have to give special attention in leadership and management commitment, and an adequate consultation, communication and participation of all workers on all levels.


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