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Preparation of ISO 45001:201X

Current situation

The International Labor Organization (ILO), that every year, 2.34 million employees throughout the world lose their lives due to accidents in the workplace. Occupational health and safety management certifications aim to enable organizations to manage health and safety risks and improve their health and safety performance with regard to prevention of injury, illness or more seriously, fatalities.

British Standard BS OHSAS 18001:2007, together with the associated Guide OHSAS 18002, has provided the basis for development and maintenance of the internationally recognized occupational health and safety management system (AMS). OHSAS 18001 has been similarly structured as other widely used international standards for management systems - such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

The technical committees of the International Standards Organization (ISO) have already published the revised standards of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 in September 2015.

In 2013, ISO 45001 began to be developed by working group ISO/PC 283 of the International Standards Organization. This new standard is intended to replace British Standard BS OHSAS 18001:2007.

 

 

Changes and effects expected in 2016-2017

Following the publication of ISO 45001, British Standard BS OHSAS 18001 from 2007 is to be withdrawn by the standard holder, the British Standards Institution (BSI). Publication of the binding version of ISO 45001 is planned for October/ November 2017.

In June 2016, the “Draft” (DIS) of ISO 45001, published in March 2016, was rejected by the ISO member countries in the international committee. After being reworked again, a second DIS of ISO 45001 was discussed by the committees again, in May 2017. The publication of the binding ISO 45001 can be expected in February 2018 if additional coordination with the FDIS is not required.

Before ISO 45001 can be used as a basis for certification, supplementary requirements of the ISO must be prepared. Specifications on the draft include:

  • Certificates under BS OHSAS 18001:2007 will presumably become invalid 3 years after the publication of ISO 45001
  • The expiry date of existing certifications under OHSAS 18001:2007 must presumably be at the end of this 3-year transitional period
  • Auditing work for changeover of an existing certification to the new ISO 45001: The time needed for the “transition” has not yet been clarified

The companies that are certified to BS OHSAS 18001:2007 will be required to transition to ISO 45001 when IAF confirms the new ISO 45001 will be the new basis of certification. The goal is for a seamless and uninturrupted certification.

The procedure will have to be coordinated and defined between the International Standards Organization (ISO), the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). In addition, it will need to be managed by the official German accreditation body Deutsche Akkrediti-erungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS).

Common questions asked by OHSAS certified companies include:

What changes are to be expected in the new ISO 45001?

What must be considered during the transition to the certification ISO 45001?

 

These questions will be explored after the release of the approved standard.

Structure of ISO 45001

It is already known that ISO 45001 will follow what is known as the High Level Structure. High Level Structures have:

 

  • Identical structure for all management systems
  • Consistent use of core texts and terminology
  • Better understanding of the standards

This structure will make it easier for companies to cover several standards in one management system, like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Recent changes to content

The draft of DIS ISO 45001:2016-03 has an advisory function for the possible changes of content in the standard. Although there may be further changes before publication of the final version of ISO 45001, the ISO/DIS 45001:2016-03 working document gives an insight into the changes companies can expect from the new standard.

The revised version of ISO 45001 will continue to be based on the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” model, as was BS OHSAS 18001:2007.

With the new ISO rules for the development of international management system standards, great emphasis is placed on the context of the companies.

It can also be expected that there will be a change in the emphasis of top management. It has been accepted that occupational health and safety should become central aspects of the entire management system, which requires the direct and consistent support and commitment from top management.

ISO 45001 will be placing an emphasis on continuous improvement of an organizations occupational health and safety. It is expected that there should be seperate processes managing this.

Details of the individual clauses

The significant changes within individual clauses of ISO 45001 are described in more detail below:

Context of the organization

Organizations must identify all external and internal aspects that have a significant impact on achievement of their occupational health and safety management objectives. This could mean that the company has to look beyond its own employees and consider working conditions all along the supply chain. As safety risks cannot be outsourced, working conditions for contractors working for the company on site and suppliers will have to be taken into consideration.

Leadership and obligations

Top management will be expected to demonstrate management responsibility and a commitment to occupational health and safety. These should be incorporated into the top management’s direct processes and should not be delegated.

Participation and consultation

The organization shall ensure that the prerequisites for participation and consultation of the employees and (if applicable) their representatives in decisions within the OHSAS management system are created.

Opportunities from occupational health and safety

In the future, organizations will have to install a process for identifying opportunities for the improvement of occupational health and safety. Such opportunities can arise from:

  1. organizational changes
  2. elimination of occupational health and safety risks in the workplace
  3. adaptation of the working conditions to the needs of employees 

Conclusion

Today, new aspects such as context of the organization has changed emphasis in various areas (for example, management responsibility, and identification of opportunities for improvement of occupational health and safety in the workplace). Many of these changes are already part of everyday life in many organizations. Tomorrow, they will be the requirements of a global standard for everyone. The majority of users of the current BS OHSAS 18001:2007 standard will not need to be concerned about the change to ISO 45001.

The new requirements will certainly involve some additional time and effort, but it will be worthwhile. The future-oriented approach of ISO 45001 is a positive challenge for certificate holders when it comes to the economically successful and sustainable development of their organization.

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