A first Glance at ISO 45001, the OHSAS 18001 Successor: Changes & Timeline

A first Glance at ISO 45001, the OHSAS 18001 Successor: Changes & Timeline


This information has been updated on September 8, 2017, to reflect recent developments in the drafting procedure of ISO 45001. We will continue to update it as the publication date comes closer.

ISO 45001, the international standard that will replace BS OHSAS 18001, has now reached the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage. The standard sets requirements for occupational health and safety management systems and is expected to be published in early 2018. In order to assist organizations that wish to be certified with the transition from BS OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001, DQS will inform you of the latest developments on a regular basis.

What changes can we expect between BS OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001?

Because the standard is currently still in development, we need to be careful with the conclusions we draw at this point. The aim of the standard remains the same: to set requirements for OH&S management systems, and thus to help organizations ensure the health and safety of the people who work for them.

While ISO 45001 largely stands in continuity with BS OHSAS 18001, there a couple of changes worth noting:

  • The standard will have the same structure as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, and will also share the same terminology. This will make it easier to integrate OH&S management into the overall management system.
  • The standard follows the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model, which provides a framework for organizations to minimize the risk of harm. Although this focus on risk is not new, the emphasis in ISO 45001 on a risk-based approach places the standard more in line of ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, which also take risk as their starting point.

  • Minimizing the risk of harm also requires taking into account any concerns that can lead to long term health issues and absence from work. This may include psychosocial factors like stress, which can be managed within the OH&S framework.
  • The fact that the standard will follow the same structure as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 already indicated that there will be a stronger focus on the context of organizations. Organizations are required to understand the needs and expectations of interested parties (commonly known as stakeholders), and to take into account all internal and external issues that my affect the ability of the organization to meet its OH&S objectives.
  • The notion of context requires organizations to look beyond health and safety within their own facilities and to take into account working conditions that are not under its direct control. This reflects on the work with subcontractors and suppliers. Supply and procurement policies should address impacts on any persons that carry out activities for the organization, or produce products or deliver services for it.
  • Another change we can expect is the stronger role for top management. Health and safety will become a central aspect of the overall management system, requiring a firm commitment from top management. At the same time it will be necessary to involve all employees in reaching OH&S objectives.
  • Stronger requirement to address legal and regulatory compliance issues in the entire management system, throughout all phases of the PDCA-cyle.

ISO 45001 will not define specific KPIs for health and safety, but rather requires continuous improvement in the KPIs an organization has set.

What is the timeline for the new standard?

ISO 45001 was originally scheduled to be published by the end of 2016. However, because the ISO members rejected an initial committee draft (CD), a second Committee Draft (CD2) had to be created.  The approval of the CD2, however, was soon followed by another setback: the Draft International Standard (DIS) did not gain sufficient approval votes during a ballot in May 2016.

On July 13 2017, a second draft managed to gain 57 votes of approval, seven votes of disapproval and eight abstentions – enough to gain approval by the committee.

Nevertheless, more than 1.600 comments were received, which will now be reviewed by PC 283. Following that review, the committee will know if it is able to skip the FDIS stage and move directly to publication of the standard (potentially by the end of 2017), or whether an FDIS stage will be necessary (which would delay publication until early 2018).

As the final publication date approaches, DQS will organize workshops and webinars to prepare organizations for the transition to ISO 45001.

The above article sourcing from DQS CFS website (https://dqs-cfs.com/2017/09/a-first-glance-at-iso-45001-the-ohsas-18001-successor/). For more information, please send email to info@dqs.com.my.