ISO 45001 is the new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) international standard. This will ensure that organisations have a workplace that is safe and healthy for employees and other people, reduce the number of work-related injury, prevent deaths and also constantly raise OHS performance. The previous standard used for OHS is OHSAS 18001:2007/AS 4801, which will be withdrawn upon publication of ISO 45001. Organisations that are certified to OHSAS 18001/AS 4801 at present will have a three year transition period to change to the new standard. It is important for these organisations to be aware of the key changes in ISO 45001 to ensure necessary measures are taken during the transition period to migrate to the new standard.
7 of the key changes in the new standard are as follows:
#1: New Annex SL Structure is implemented
ISO 45001 follows the same structure like other ISO standards. The Annex SL Structure is
#2: Organisational Context
The new standard has introduced two clauses related to the context of the organisation. The new clauses require the organisation to determine issues and requirements that may impact on the planning of the OH&S Management system and can serve as input for the development of the management system. The context of the organisation refers to the business environment it is operating. Identifying both external and internal issues helps the business to understand the environment and its impact on the management system.
External issues can be related to technological, economic, market, competition, culture, legal and other social factors.
Internal issues can be related to culture, knowledge, values and performance
Understanding the issues (both external and internal) will facilitate the organisation to achieve its intended results for the OH&S Management system.
#3 Understanding needs of interested parties
This new clause requires the organisation to understand the needs and expectation of stakeholders appropriate to the business. This requirement includes not only the direct customers but also the end-users, suppliers, distributors, retailers and others involved in the supply chain, regulators and any other relevant interested party.
The purpose is also to predict current and future needs because it could lead to the compliance against requirements and improve overall performance of OH&S Management system. The organisation is required to monitor and review the information about these interested parties and their relevant requirements.
This clause requires more commitment and involvement from the top management in identifying work-related health & safety risks and integrating OH&S requirements into its business processes.
Top-level engagement and empowerment of senior management have been raised up by the new standard, which means that the responsibility will not lie on one person (previously given to OH&S representative’). The OH&S policy must include a commitment to improving all relevant aspects of the OH&S management system, not just its effectiveness, and it must provide a framework (that is, a process) for “setting” the objectives.
Significant changes related to this clause are
- Top management to establish, implement and maintain OH&S policy
- Appropriate to the purpose and context of the organisation
- Available to relevant interested parties, as appropriate
- Commitment to improving the OH&S management system
- Communicated, understood and applied within the organisation
- Maintained as documented information
#5 Worker Participation
The standard requires the leadership to consider worker participation and consultation in the following process within OH&S management system
- Hazard identification and Risk assessment
- Risk management and control
- Provision of time and resources to accomplish tasks
- Identify training needs and create more awareness of hazards and OH&S risks
The leadership is required to provide a mechanism to foster, promote and enable effective cooperation across all level of the organisation. E.g. worker’s safety delegates, OHS committee. The management is responsible for creating and maintaining a culture in the organisation that supports the OH&S management system
#5 Hazards Identification – Risk Management
The standard strongly emphasis is on the planning of actions to address OH&S related risks within the organisation. Risk management process should consider OH&S risks related to its hazards and OH&S opportunities, applicable legal and other requirements and risks and opportunities related to the operation of the OH&S management system
#6 Documented information
The standard requires all documented information (both documents & records), which includes electronic and process information, to be controlled and managed.
#7 Outsourcing, Procurement & Contractors Management
The organization needs to ensure that all outsourced processes that has the potential to impact OH&S Management system are controlled and management. The standard requires the business to have adequate and effective controls with regards to procurements of products (e.g raw materials, equipment, services) to ensure that procured items meet the OH&S requirements of the organisation. The OH&S Management should expand beyond just workers and include contractors are engaged by the organisation to perform various business activities. The OH&S risks that arises in contractor engagement should be maintained and controlled.
#7 Continual Improvement
Unlike other international standard, ISO 45001 doesn’t require the organisation to implement preventive action. However, the standard requires the business to change take proactive measures as part of the continual improvement and risk management.