Health & Safety News

Making the migration from BS OHSAS 18001 to ISO/DIS 45001


It is official – we are ALL going to have to migrate from health and safety (OHS, WHS, EHS) legislative standard of 18001 to a new safety standard of ISO 45001.

The new ISO safety standard is not radically different to the outgoing 18001 standard. You may, however, be wondering;

1 – What is ISO 45001 safety standard?
2 – How is ISO 45001 different from OHSAS 18001?
3 – How will ISO 45001 benefit your organisation?
4 – What does making the migration from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 look like?
5 – I haven’t read through the changes, what are the key similarities that will help simplify ISO 45001.

OHSAS 18001 is about to be withdrawn and replaced by ISO 45001 and we are looking at an early 2018 release. 93% of people that voted on ISO 45001 have said yes, this standard is ready to go immediately.

What does that mean for the international community?

It means you need to prepare and transition into this new standard in safety and health.

What is new in ISO 45001 standards when comparing it to 18001?

The good news here is that from our observations the new 45001 standard is not radically different to the outgoing 18001. Some provisions in the standard have strengthened, but probably the major difference is the push towards a proactive approach to risk control and embedding health and safety into the overall management system of the organisation, from the top down.

Let’s break down what we believe are the top 3 themes in the new 45001 –

Number 1. Management Commitment:

Now what’s really cool about 45001 is it follows a thing called annex SL. As the name suggests, this is all about giving you a really balanced approach to corporate risk management and your corporate risk horizon outside of your financial risk. Where 18001 took a reactive approach through delegation of hazard control responsibilities to safety management personnel, 45001 shifts this to a “leader” or management commitment with workers demonstrated by a top down approach.

Here is a little revelation in trying to simplify the changes. If you are thinking to yourself, “this seems VERY similar to the quality assurance 9001/2015 updates,” well, you are right. 45001 maps against ISO 9001, the quality management system specification and ISO 14001 the environmental management system. So for those of you familiar with these, your life will be made a lot easier.

Number 2. Worker Involvement:

Under 45001 there is a focus on employees working with management to implement safety management systems. Particularly, employees should be provided training to identify risks and help the organisation create a successful safety program. An important component of employee engagement is the removal of barriers and opening up visibility for workers to review audit findings and incident investigation outcomes.

Number 3. Risk Versus Hazard:

This is in keeping with a move towards a more proactive approach, the reactive hazard control of the past is being replaced with a more proactive approach to early hazard identification and risk control. Internal audits, conducting pre-task risk assessments like JSAs and SWMS and workplace monitoring will become the new norm.

Look, the long and the short of it is this; ISO 45001 is all about continual improvement. It’s about having a management system where you get together as a team and you consult with each other to figure out safer ways to work.

Let’s talk about migration from 18001 to 45001

Like mentioned, the good news is that ISO 45001 is not significantly different. So THEORETICALLY, if you have an 18001 compatible management system it means you’ll be able to transition to this new, clean ISO 45001 management system with ease.

But in REALITY, you might be in for a real nightmare depending on HOW you manage your safety at the moment. Many of you that operate a safety management system whether it is software, paper-based or something in between, will have an absolute nightmare making the adjustments you need. Almost all systems we have seen are not configurable – meaning fast affordable changes are near impossible. Changes require exorbitant amounts of time and/or cost to implement.

Some of the things you will need to ask yourself when reviewing your current system and whether it is able to be upgraded to 45001 compatibility and can make workflows changes quickly and easily. Does it have a clean and simple user interface that anyone can use – which is now important as the whole company now need to join the safety conversation, does it have end to end insights and allow predictive analysis to risk and hazards?

For those of you using Donesafe, your fine, we have all that. Donesafe is 45001 ready.

Related ArticleISO 45001: A hassle or a blessing?

And as always, keep safe out there.

By Donesafe at

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