ISO 45001 replaces BS OHSAS 18001 and is the first internationally agreed OHS management standard promoting global conformity. The standard is intended to help organisations to manage their OHS processes and risks in a systematic and consistent way.



Clause 4:-   Context of the organisation.

Implementing an OHS management system is a strategic decision influenced by the 'context of the organisation', which means all the internal and external issues relevant to your organisation. For example:

Internal issues External issues
Governance, structure, roles and accountabilities Economic factors (e.g. exchange rates, economic situation, inflation, availability of credit)
Policies, objectives, strategies Market factors (e.g. competition, trends in customer growth, market stability, supply chain relationships)
Introduction of new products, software, tools, premises and equipment Technological factors (e.g. new technology, materials and equipment, patents expiring)
Capabilities Trade union regulations or industry-related regulations
Company culture  
Working time arrangements etc.  











This clause emphasises a requirement to understand the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties.

Clause 5:-  Leadership & Worker Participation

The standard is designed to guarantee that there is buy-in from top management. For most organisations who already demonstrate effective leadership, especially for those familiar with the latest ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, these requirements should come naturally. In organisations where occupational health and safety is the sole responsibility of a Health and Safety individual, this will require dramatic changes.

The clause emphasises top management's requirement to develop, lead and promote a culture that supports the OHS management system and encourages workers to actively take part. Clause 5 references "Internal Participation and Consultation" and how the process needs to be managed as a two-way dialogue. This demonstrates a move towards an OHS management system which is fully embodied in an organisation's structure.

Clause 6: Planning for the OH&S system 

The standard details requirements for organisations to address risks to avoid undesired effects such as a lack of application of legal requirements, damage to reputation, work-related injury or ill health. It also requires organisations to address opportunities such as planning to achieve OHS objectives.

This risk-based approach will enable organisations to build pre-emptive OHS management systems.

Clause 7: Support

This clause covers resources, competence, awareness, communication and documented information. Resources are defined in more detail and this demonstrates a move to an OHS management system which is more integrated to the business as a whole. 

While there is not  much change to this clause compared to BS OHSAS 18001, it is more detailed and less ambiguous.

Clause 8: Operation

The operation clause specifically looks at the organisation's operational controls, emergency preparedness and response.

This clause is more explicit about managing outsourcing, procurement and contractors than BS OHSAS 18001 in a move to ensure organisations demonstrate a responsibility for supplier health and safety management and do not contract out risk.

Clause 9: Performance evaluation

This clause includes monitoring and measuring OHS performance, evaluating compliance obligations and internal audits. It also references requirements for management to review the OHS management system to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. 

PDAC Cycle

Clause 10: Improvement

Organisations must establish how their OHS management system fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Improvement now groups incidents, non-conformances and corrective actions. 

EQMS allows organisations to embed a culture of continuous improvement in a number of ways:

  • EQMS Incident & Accident Manager: Ensures full visibility so that issues are resolved in a closed-loop process, eliminating recurring health and safety hazards.
  • EQMS Audit & Inspection Manager: Provides a systematic methodology for regularly auditing against health and safety policies and requirements. 
  • EQMS Risk Manager: Enables regular risk assessments to be carried out to minimise, control and avoid risks.

ISO 45001 - 2018

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