ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety

The upcoming international standard will replace OHSAS 18001

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is a new international standard for occupational health and safety which is currently in the final stages of development.

It will replace BS OHSAS 18001, which is the existing recognised standard for best practice occupational health and safety management.

Once the new standard is published Alcumus ISOQAR will provide support to organisations wishing to become ISO 45001 certified, as well as those who need to transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 certification. 

Why is ISO 45001 being developed? 

ISO 45001 will have all the benefits of OHSAS 18001. Like OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001 certification will ensure that your organisation has an effective management system and help to demonstrate that your company:

  • Is taking proactive steps to comply with appropriate legislation and best practice

  • Remains up-to-date with legislative changes

  • Becomes a safer place to work

  • May make substantial savings from prevented incidents and accidents

  • Satisfies core requirements of SSIP when registering as a member of SSIP with ISOQAR

  • Will act as ‘deemed to satisfy’ for other industry schemes.

However, ISO 45001 is a new and improved standard. Compared to OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001 has the following advantages:

  • More up-to-date 

  • Created by an international committee of experts

  • Designed with global recognition in mind

  • Based on the Annex SL framework, so integrates seamlessly with other ISO management systems, including ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 27001:2015

When will ISO 45001 be released?

ISO 45001 was originally predicted to launch in 2016, but the process of creating the new standard has faced several delays.

The process of creating an ISO standard:

ISO standards are created by a Project Committee (PC). Before an ISO standard can be released, a draft version of the standard must first be approved by ISO members (the National Standards Bodies for participating countries).

The draft international standard (DIS) must go through a ballot process where ISO members vote and comment on its contents. If at least 66% of ISO members vote in favour of the DIS, it can then move to a final draft version, or FDIS. If less than 66% of ISO members vote to approve the DIS, another draft version must be created and submitted to the ballot process before an FDIS can be created. Further drafts are referred to as DIS2, DIS3, and so on. 

When creating an FDIS, the PC will bear in mind the comments made on the previous draft. Once completed, the FDIS will once again go to ISO members for ballot - but this time comments are not accepted. If 66%+ of ISO members vote in favour of the final draft, and no more than 25% vote against, the new standard is approved and can be published and released. 

Why has ISO 45001 been delayed?

The first draft, ISO 45001 DIS1, was rejected in May 2016. This meant that a second draft of the standard had to be produced in response to ISO member comments.

The second draft, ISO 45001 DIS2, was published in 2017 and put to ISO members for ballot and comment over the summer. In July it was announced that DIS2 had been approved by ballot.

However, a project committee working group met on 18-22 September 2017 to review the results of the international ballot. Although 88% of ISO members voted in favour, there were 1630 comments made on the draft, so many that the project committee decided an FDIS was required. 

The FDIS for ISO 45001 was released on 30 November 2017 for ballot. The ballot process will close on 25 January 2018. 

When will ISO 45001 be published?

The ISO has targeted a publication date of February 2018. It is expected that the FDIS will be approved by ISO members due to the high approval rating of DIS2.

In an official communique, the project comittee stated that "if the FDIS ballot is successful, there will then be a short period of final preparation of the text, before ISO 45001 is published in February 2018".

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