ISO 45001: The International Occupational Health and Safety Management System Standard

ISO 45001 - Timeline to publication

ISO 45001 is the world’s first international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management. When ISO 45001 is published, it is expected that BS OHSAS 18001, the widely used British Standard for Occupational Health and Safety management will be withdrawn and there will be an agreed migration period to the new standard.

OHSAS 18001 was launched in 1999 and aimed to align the range of national health and safety management standards into one to reduce confusion and market fragmentation.

Why ISO 45001?

The increase in global trade brings new health and safety challenges and this has led to the need for an international OH&S management system standard, to raise standards and enable global benchmarking. For this reason, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set up Project Committee, ISO/PC 283, to develop an international standard that would be applicable to any organization regardless of its size, industry or location.

ISO 45001 will be a voluntary standard that is not legally binding but aims to help organizations to manage their OH&S risks and improve their performance to make people safer and healthier. Certification will help organizations to demonstrate that they have a robust OH&S system in place and will recognize that they have achieved an international benchmark – which will boost their reputation to customers and employees alike. Other benefits include:

  • A robust system to comply with OH&S regulations.
  • Fewer accidents mean less absenteeism, lower employee turnover rates and better morale.
  • Reduced disruption to operations in terms of time and cost.

ISO 45001 Timeline

Based on the latest information from the Working Group, the timeline for ISO 45001 publication is:

  • February 2017 – Editing and preparation of the DIS2
  • March 2017 – The DIS2 is released for translation
  • End May 2017 – DIS2 ballot is held
  • End July 2017 – Results of the DIS2 vote and comments are known
  • September 2017 – PC283 and WG1 meet to review the results of the DIS2 ballot
  • November 2017 – ISO Central Secretariat will decide if DIS2 is approved and the final draft international standard (FDIS) stage is not required, publication could be as early as November 2017.
  • March 2018 – Expected publication if the ISO Central Secretariat decide an FDIS is required

What can we expect from ISO 45001?

  • Align national OH&S standards. The overall aim of ISO 45001 is the same as OHSAS 18001: To align the range of national health and safety management system standards into one standard with the intention of removing confusion and market fragmentation.
  • Annex SL structure. As with all new and revised ISO standards, ISO 45001 will follow the same common terminology and high level structure found in Annex SL. This is a key difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001.
  • Context of Organization. Annex SL will introduce a stronger focus on the context of an organization. Organizations will need to consider the health and safety issues that directly impact them and also take into account the wider society and how their work may impact on the surrounding communities.
  • Top management and worker participation. The role of health and safety will not become the sole responsibility of the Health and Safety Manager – there will be more top management involvement and greater participation of workers in the development of policy and the systems.

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