The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently released the new ISO 45001 standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). Published on March 12, 2018,  ISO 45001 provides a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better and safer conditions for workers everywhere.

The standard was developed over a five-year period by ISO/PC (Project Committee) 283 (, incorporating most of the requirements from the previous OHSMS standard—OHSAS 18001.  The OHSAS 18001 version never made it to a full ISO version; and, therefore, was published and held as a privately owned standard by British Standards Institute (BSI). The new ISO 45001 has been fully published as an ISO standard and uses the same “high-level structure” as other recently updated standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

Potential benefits from use of the standard include:

  • Reduction of workplace incidents
  • Reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, leading to increased productivity
  • Reduced cost of insurance premiums  
  • Creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own OH&S
  • Reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve OH&S performance
  • Ability to support “legal and other” regulatory requirements
  • Enhanced reputation
  • Improved staff morale

For those companies transitioning from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001, it is recommended they attend an overview class and/or internal auditor training so that they can transition within the three year transition period.

Companies can get started today by taking the training and be prepared to develop:

  • Company wide job hazard assessments
  • A means to identify other risks and opportunities associated within the context of the organization
  • OH&S regulatory determinations and compliance evaluations
  • Operational controls for high risk hazards associated with employees, purchasing processes, outsourced organizations, contractors and others
  • Many other OH&S programs designed to enhance your OH&SMS

For more information on the new ISO 45001 standard, visit the ISO website.