ISO 45001, seen as an eventual replacement to the existing OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety management standard, has been approved as a Draft International Standard (DIS).
This has taken some time, given we first muted the release of such a standard back in June 2013. However, the creation of the standard has required input from 70 countries – ultimately overseen by a dedicated committee referred to as ISO/PC 283.
PURCHASE THE DRAFT: You can access the DIS standard on the ISO website
What will change from OHSAS 18001?
Defined as a ‘migration’ rather than a ‘transition’, the process is a little different from the recent changes to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. However, the new ISO 45001 will be following suit in incorporating the same High Level Structure as used by the updated quality and environmental management standards. This is reflected in the major requirements of the new standard:
- Leadership with specific emphasis on work participation and consultation;
- Extended requirements related to internal and external communication, including the need to determine what, when and how to inform;
- Systematic determination of external and internal issues, as well as the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties. This helps to understand influencing factors relevant for the management system;
- Risk based thinking as a basis for the management system. More focus on objectives as drivers for improvements, and related planning required to achieve the goals;
- More emphasis on control of changes and control of procurement, contractors and outsourced processes;
- More specific requirements related to performance evaluation;
- Some amendments related to emergency preparedness and response and;
- A new clause related to process for continual improvements
ISO 45001 will incorporate the familiar Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model, which provides a framework for organisations to plan what they need to put in place in order to minimise the risk of harm. The measures should address concerns that can lead to long-term health issues and absence from work, as well as those that give rise to accidents.
What are the next steps?
Now that the standard has advanced to DIS stage, national member bodies of ISO have been invited to vote and comment during a three-month balloting period. If the outcome is positive, it will move to becoming a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS). In the event of an affirmative vote, ISO 45001 is expected to be published as an International Standard – later than planned – in late 2016 or early 2017.
What happens to our OHSAS 18001 certification?
As with clients who moved to the new ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, we will be offering a Gap Analysis service once ISO 45001 is published. This will mean they are eligible to be audited to ISO 45001 at their following Surveillance or Re-Certification Audit.
For now, it is recommended that those with or considering OHSAS 18001 should continue with the existing standard given timescales are not fixed. Certification Bodies will not be able to issue UKAS accredited certificates until they have been assessed for competency against the new standard.