Five Key ISO 45001:2016 FAQs Answered

13 April 2015

There’s a new international occupational health and safety standard in the pipeline and it’ll be ready for implementation relatively soon.  I’m writing this blog to answer some of the most frequently asked questions my clients put to me.  I hope this sheds a little light on any queries you may have.

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is the latest occupational health and safety management system standard being developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), a non-governmental membership organisation that develops voluntary international      standards.  The standard has two primary objectives: to ensure the effective occupational health and safety of workers and non-workers (e.g. visitors) and to make sure compliance obligations are met.

What are the major differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001?

This answer can be broken down into three major differences. 

The Annex SL - The Annex is the high level framework from which all ISO standards will be developed going forward.  There are 10 chapters that comprise the Annex, some of these chapters will be familiar to those of you with management systems but there are some new chapters too.

Leadership – It’ll no longer be enough for senior leaders to sign the occupational health and safety policy and forget about safety until next year when the policy is up for review.  Leaders must embody health and safety and build it into the decision-making process.

Terms and definitions – Terms and definitions are being amended to bring the standard more in line with all sectors and to make it more suitable for organisations of any size.  The term ‘hazard identification’ is on the chopping block and likely to be replaced by the terms ‘risk identification’ and ‘risk control’ to account for those sectors outside of manufacturing (e.g. retail) where ‘hazard identification’ doesn’t apply in a lot of cases.

If my organisation is ready for OHSAS 18001 certification should we wait for ISO 45001 instead?

I get asked this question a lot.  The question I fire back is, “What are the drivers for system implementation?”   If the business states that there is a key contract or primary customer requiring a certified system before they’ll do business, the answer is, “Yes”, definitely go for certification as soon as possible.  If there isn’t an urgent business case for implementation, there’s nothing wrong with establishing the system and have it up and running for certification next year.

What do I need to do if I am already certified to OHSAS 18001?

All you’ll need to do is monitor the progression of ISO 45001.  When ISO 45001 hits the scene in October 2016, UKAS will no longer accredit certification bodies to certify OHSAS 18001 systems.  You’ll then have a transition period of three years (to be confirmed) to modify your system into the ISO format.

What sort of time frames are we looking at regarding ISO 45001?

May 2014             ISO/CD 45001 (first committee draft) was published

February 2015   ISO/DIS 45001 (first draft international standard) to be published

March 2016         ISO/FDIS 45001 (final draft international standard) to be published

October 2016     ISO 45001:2016 to be published

October 2016     UKAS will no longer accredit OHSAS 18001 certification bodies


A free guide to ISO 45001:2016 Download your copy today!


Image designed by Freepik


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. 

User Comments

Comments powered by Disqus