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What is ISO 45001:2018?

ISO stands for International Organisation for Standardisation. The organisation develops and promotes ‘International Standards’ in fields such as Business administration, engineering, social responsibility and others. As most organisations, small and large, operate ‘management systems’ to conduct their affairs ISO have developed a range of standards, internationally recognised, that apply to workplaces and business – and one of these is ISO 45001:2018 which provides a management framework for occupational health and safety management systems.

Other widely recognised standards in business include ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management systems and ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management systems all of which have the same basic structure. ISO 45001:2018 is the first OH&S management system standard produced by ISO.

What is ISO 45001:2018 replacing?

In the UK BS OHSAS 18001:2007 was (is) a British standard for Occupational Health and Safety management systems, this standard was, in itself, widely recognised internationally but has now been superseded by ISO45001:2018. Like OHSAS 18001:2007, This ISO management system builds on the success of other earlier international standards such as the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH. 

Organisations that were (are) certified to OHSAS18001:2007 had three years to ‘transition’ to the new ISO standard which was introduced in March 2018. This means that all certificate holders will have to complete their migration to ISO 45001:2018 by the END SEPTEMBER 2021 or face recertification to the new ISO standard.

How can my organisation be certified to ISO 45001:2018?

Certification is undertaken by organisations that are ‘accredited’ (usually by UKAS in the UK) to award a certificate of conformance to the standard. 

If your organisation held an OHSAS18001 certificate you will have had the opportunity to demonstrate your compliance to ISO45001 to your certifying body over the last three years culminating in a recertification audit. If you are applying for ISO 45001:2018 from scratch it is necessary for you to build your management system and then progress through a series of audits designed for you to demonstrate readiness and compliance with the standard.

What are the main difference between ISO 45001:2018 and OHSA 18001:2007?

The goal of ISO 45001:2018 is similar to that of OHSAS18001 in creating  safety at work by reducing occupational injuries and diseases. The new standard, however, creates new expectations in the way in which this is achieved, in part reflecting the way in which work has changed in the new millennium, to this end the new standard is process based and is not dependent on procedures. Other key differences point to the need for proactive leadership in creating the involvement of workers in the process and in considering both the internal and the external context of the organisation before decisions are made about how risks should controlled.

The focus on positive outcomes is also enhanced by requiring the organisation to think about ‘opportunity’ (positive) as well as ‘risk’ (negative) when considering where action is needed. Generally the organisation has more flexibility with the new standard when it comes to demonstrating how compliance has been achieved.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you achieve this international standard for occupational health & safety, please visit or please contact us