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ISO 45001 - Meet the New Kid on the Block: An Introduction to the ISO Health and Safety Standard

By Jennifer Anderson
Published: April 8, 2016 | Last updated: August 11, 2016 10:46:23
Presented by Cority
Key Takeaways

What ISO45001 is and what it means for health and safety professionals.

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Each day in America more than 6300 people lose their lives to work-related accidents or workplace-induced illness. Many of these 2.3million annual losses are preventable with better health and safety measures.

Occupational injuries and diseases are also a cost factor of significant proportions for individuals, employers and the taxpayer. Losses tally in early retirements, days absent from work and rapidly increasing medical and insurance costs.


What is ISO45001?

ISO 45001 is a health and safety document now in the draft stage. It outlines requirements for occupational health and safety management systems.

Why was ISO45001 Created?

There is a need to establish an ISO management system. Many companies, businesses, and organizations already have several ISO management system standards in place. Thus, there needs to be an occupational health and safety tool that can be integrated into these standards. ISO 45001 particularly focuses on integrating with ISO 14001 as many organizations. Many small to mid-size enterprise employ only one person whose sole responsibility is safety and environmental concerns. It is hoped that ISO 45001 will have a high level of recognition and widespread adoption.

Who Will Benefit from ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is designed for use by all organizations, large and small no matter what that enterprise does or produces. Regardless of the nature or size of the company, ISO 45001 can be integrated with the business’ other health and safety measures. These include employee wellness and wellbeing. ISO 45001 addresses most legal requirements related to health and safety.

How does ISO45001 Differ from OSHA 18001?


While both documents aim to make the workplace safe, since OSHA 18001 there have been new developments that need to be addressed. An example is the new rules for developing international management system standards. There are changes in the “context” of an organization. There is also a stronger role for top management and leadership now.

The standard currently being developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts adheres to other generic management systems including ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. It assimilates international standards stated in OHSAS 18001, the International Labor Organization ILO-OSH Guidelines, national standards, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards.

What is the “Context” of an Enterprise?

In the new ISO 45001 workplace safety standards, an organization must concern itself not only with day-to-day health and safety issues, but it must also address societal expectations. Businesses must think not only about employees, but also contractors, suppliers, visitors and the community in the proximity. Today’s standards must take into account a far broader populace than its employees. Organizations cannot merely outsource a health and safety committee or business as they have in the past.

Has the Role of Leadership of the Organization Changed?

With ISO 45001 occupational health and safety is part of an overall management system. There is also the requirement that the business have a lot stronger buy-in. Management and leadership are tasked with being actively involved in health and safety, whereas before ISO 45001, they could appoint a person or committee or outsource this responsibility. There will be no more option to delegate. Management and owners have a written responsibility to a safety manager.

ISO 45001 requires health and safety to be part of a management system that integrates it as part of the overall business plan.

What are the Major Benefits of ISO 45001?

If the stipulated system and structure are properly integrated, enterprises will reduce the risk of workplace injury or death to its employees. In 2013, the number of injury, workplace-related disease, or death cases in USA was 2.3 million. A strong occupational health and safety management system results in organizational reduction of accidents and ill health. It also avoids costly medical and legal costs and can even reduce insurance costs.

ISO 45001 mandates create a workplace culture of optimism and camaraderie. Employees see that their well-being is being addressed. An offshoot of this is higher worker productivity and higher profits.

The new standard is ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements,that will help organizations reduce deaths, illness, injury, missed work days, as well as increasing employee morale and productivity.

When Will ISO 45001 Be Ready?

When the public inquiry state is reached, the final draft of ISO 45001 will be presented publicly. Draft copies can be obtained at your local ISO office or through any ISO member. Final drafts will be published in October of 2016.

Where Can I Find out More?

Contact the national ISO office or any national ISO member for more details.


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Written by Jennifer Anderson

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