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ISO 45001: transitioning from OHSAS 18001 to the new standard

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is the new occupational health & safety management systems standard published in March 2018. It replaces the current standard OHSAS 18001:2007 which is being withdrawn. The new ISO standard has been developed in line with the International Labour Organization’s international labour standards and conventions. On launch it was billed as ‘the world’s first global occupational health & safety management system standard’.

Why is ISO 45001 needed?

The International Labour Organization states that nearly 2.8million people across the world die from work related accidents or diseases every year. With ISO 45001, the International Organization for Standardization is setting the minimum standard of practice to improve health & safety in the workplace. The organisation for national standards bodies believes that this new standard will significantly reduce the millions of lives lost each year from accidents or fatal diseases linked to work activities.

How does ISO 45001 differ from OHSAS 18001?

ISO 45001 differs greatly from the current occupational health & safety management system OHSAS 18001.  It takes a much more a risk-based approach to ensure it is practicable and effective for any size of business. It shares a structure, core text and common terminology with the updated quality management system standard ISO 9001:2015 and environmental management system standard ISO 18001:2015. This enables ISO 45001 (and future management standards) to be more easily integrated with existing management systems.

If I have OHSAS 18001, do I need to transition to ISO 45001?

OHSAS 18001 is being withdrawn. All companies that are currently certified to OHSAS 18001 need to transition to the new occupational health & safety management systems standard by 11th March 2021.

What happens if I don’t transition by the deadline?

Companies that have not transitioned from OHSAS 18001 to the new ISO standard by the deadline of 11th March 2021 will lose their certification. The process of re-certification after this time will be lengthier and most likely more costly.

What do I need to do to transition to ISO 45001?

Companies that are certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to review their current processes and procedures. Where required, they will need to revise and implement new ones consistent with the requirements of ISO 45001.

Companies that comply with OHSAS 18001 will have many of the tools and systems required by ISO 45001 in place already. Those that are certified to the new ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 18001:2015 standards will already have restructured their management systems with greater focus on performance and outcomes.  This greatly lessens the workload to transition to, and integrate, ISO 45001.

How long will it take to transition to ISO 45001?

Despite the benefits of already being certified to OHSAS 18001 (and also ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 if applicable), the transition process can be quite lengthy. Particularly bearing in mind the number of businesses that will all be transitioning by the same deadline, we recommend that businesses start their journey to ISO 45001 at the earliest opportunity.

How can I find out more?

Wiser Environment has extensive experience in helping business develop and implement integrated management systems to international standards. We are working with a wide range of clients to ensure they have transitioned to ISO45001 well in advance of the March 2021 deadline. Please contact us or call us on 01480 462 232 if you have any queries about health & safety or would like assistance to ensure your business makes a smooth transition.