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10 things you need to know about ISO 45001:2018, the new occupational health & safety standard

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), over 2.78 million people die each year as a result of work-related illness or accidents – that’s over 7,500 per day.
A further 374 million non-fatal accidents and work-related illnesses are reported annually, leading to human misery and a large economic cost.
Following the success of OHSAS 18001 in raising the profile of Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) in a management system context, ISO 45001 has been developed to help organizations provide a safe and healthy workplace for all.
ISO 45001:2018 was published on March 12 and here we provide you an overview of what the new standard means for you and your organization.

1. Isn’t OHSAS 18001 used all over the world? Why has a new health and safety standard been developed?

Yes, since OHSAS 18001 was launched in 1999, it has been used by organizations in nearly 130 countries to improve OH&S performance and to align numerous national and regional standards to reduce fragmentation and confusion. All standards are reviewed and updated periodically and in the current global economy, an ISO standard on Occupational Health & Safety was the logical next step to drive better OH&S performance worldwide.
ISO 45001 has the same goals as OHSAS 18001 in terms of improving OH&S performance to prevent work-related injury and ill health and to provide a safe and healthy workplace, while using the same common text and high-level text structure (known as Annex SL) as ISO standards such as 9001 and 14001, bringing OH&S management and continual improvement into the core of an organization.

2. Who is ISO 45001 for?

ISO 45001 is applicable to organizations of any size, across all industry sectors, in any location.
There is a clear opportunity for organizations that currently have OHSAS 18001 to migrate to ISO 45001, as well as the chance for companies that currently lack a formal OH&S management system to implement ISO 45001. Finally, for those companies that have other ISO standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality) and/or ISO 14001 (environmental), bringing ISO 45001 into their business will ensure that their OH&S management system is fully aligned and integrated with existing management systems.

3. How does Annex SL factor into the change from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001?

The biggest difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 is the adoption of Annex SL, which is now shared across all new and revised ISO standards. The common themes such as risk-based thinking and using a process-based approach will make it easier for organizations to integrate their management systems, reducing duplication and potentially cost.
Context is another key element of Annex SL that will have an impact on OH&S management systems. In the new standard, organizations will need to consider how they can affect or be affected by their stakeholders or ‘interested parties’.
This means that organizations should not only consider what health and safety issues directly impact them, but also consider the wider society and how their work may impact on the surrounding communities.
Organizations that have transitioned to ISO 9001:2015 or ISO 14001:2015 will be familiar with this process and that will be helpful when implementing ISO 45001.

4. Will there be greater worker participation?

Yes, workers will participate in identifying hazards and risks, as well as taking part in the functioning of the OH&S management system. Organizations will need to ensure that their workers are competent to perform their roles safely. ISO 45001 defines a worker as, “a person performing work or work- related activities that are under the control of the organization.”
This includes people working on a paid or unpaid basis, permanently, temporarily or casually, full or part time. It covers managerial and non-managerial posts as well as contractors and agency workers.
Responsibility for OH&S should not fall on the shoulders of one person and the top management is accountable for demonstrating leadership and commitment to OH&S management.

5. How will ISO 45001 contribute to preventing ill-health and injury?

Organizations implementing or migrating to ISO 45001 will need to consider factors that could cause injury and ill health (including mental as well as physical health) in the short or long term. Examples could include prolonged exposure to a harmful substance or an unhealthy working environment.

6. What are the benefits of these changes?

As an international standard, certification to ISO 45001 will ensure that your customers and other stakeholders understand your commitment to OH&S and how it is being managed across your organization.
Top management will be responsible for ensuring the OH&S management system achieves its intended outcomes, so ISO 45001 will help embed OH&S and continual improvement into the core of your organization. This can be achieved by aligning the OH&S management system and strategic direction together with increasing the focus on improving OH&S performance.
There are new requirements relating to the management of risks and opportunities, which will help organizations to develop a more effective and systematic approach to risk identification and management, making the system more robust.
The proactive identification of opportunities will help to improve safety and drive OH&S performance.
The incorporation of Annex SL will make it far simpler for OH&S management system controls to be integrated into a single ‘business management system’, which can help to reduce duplication in cost and effort.

7. What are the differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001 to be aware of?

The most significant differences are highlighted below.


Means that both internal and external factors are considered when thinking about the issues, both positive and negative, that could affect the way an organization manages its OH&S responsibilities.

Workers and other interested parties

Greater focus on workers’ and other stakeholders’ needs and expectations and to what extent they are addressed within the OH&S management system.


Top management is required to demonstrate a commitment to promoting a positive health and safety culture.

Participation and consultation

Workers need to be consulted on and involved in the set-up and running of the OH&S management system.

Risks and opportunities

This means the risks and opportunities relating to the management system as well as to occupational health and safety.

8. What are the timescales for ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 was published on March 12, 2018. Although ISO 45001 draws heavily on OHSAS 18001, it is a new standard rather than a revision or update. There will be a three-year migration period, after which OHSAS 18001 will be withdrawn.

9. How should an organization get started with ISO 45001 implementation or migration?

Start by getting a copy of the standard and read it from cover to cover. Reading the definitions and appendices, as well as the requirements will give you a much deeper understanding of ISO 45001.

10. How can Lloyd’s Register help?

With all the major ISO standards being revised, Lloyd’s Register is at the forefront of communicating the changes and we will continue to provide the latest news and insight on ISO 45001.
We offer a range of ISO 45001 assessment and training courses – including gap analysis – to support organizations worldwide with their implementation of or migration to the new standard. Our courses are suitable for all levels of knowledge and experience and are designed to help you and your organization reap the benefits of understanding the new ISO 45001 standard early.

Get in touch
Please visit www.lr.org/in for more information or email
[email protected]
Care is taken to ensure that all information provided is accurate and up to date. However, Lloyd’s Register accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies in, or changes to, information.

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