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ISO 45001 - All You Need to Know

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 provides guidelines for the management of occupational health and safety and replaced ISO18001 in 2018. It follows the same 10 clause structure as other key management system standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 etc and can be integrated with those standards.

ISO 45001 requires the organisation to take responsibility for planning, implementing, reviewing and evaluating and improving their OH&S management system and promoting and protecting the physical and psychological health of their workers. 

It is important to note that the term ‘worker’ which is used in this standard brings the entire organisation into play – from the CEO down, and also includes those who work under sub-contract or temporary arrangements, it’s not just for the traditional ‘employee’.  For many organisations this represents a significant change from the scope of a system designed to meeting ISO 18001.

The standard requires an organisation to define their policy for occupational health and safety, set objectives to drive forward improvement, to plan and implement the controls required for their activities and to evaluate how well the system is working through performance evaluation and audit.  It’s about identifying where you are now and taking steps to continually improve.

The standard can be applied within all sectors, is implemented across the globe and applies to organisations of any size and structure.


What are the benefits of ISO 45001?

The standard asks the organisation to consider it’s context and the needs and expectations of its interested parties with regard to occupational health and safety. 

It then requires them to identify the risks (hazards) which workers, and others in the vicinity of the works, may be exposed to, and to identify and put in place suitable control measures to remove or reduce the likelihood and/or severity of harm which could result. 

The standard also asks the organisation to identify what legal and regulatory requirements are placed on them with regard to health and safety, and to ensure that they comply with them.

By adopting a systematic approach, and using methodologies such as the Hierarchy of Controls the organisation should be able to deliver their outputs without risk of harm to their workers or to others who may be impacted by their activities, confident that they are operating within the law.

Having a robust and certificated management system to control occupational health and safety is not only likely to reduce the risk and impact of incident and accidents, but will also demonstrate to other parties – for example clients, regulatory bodies, insurers, shareholders and other interested parties  - that the organisation takes safety management seriously. It’s about proactive management of safety and the prevention of harm, rather than simply reacting to accidents and incidents. The standard also asks organisations to consider and prepare for emergency situations, the things we hope will never happen but just might!  This links to business continuity planning, covered in ISO 22301.

But it’s not just about external parties – having a robust safety management system in place shows how committed the organisation is to maintaining the safety and wellbeing of its workers, and that can impact on issues such as boosting morale and increasing retention of staff.  No-one wants to work with or for an unsafe organisation!


How does the Standard work? 

The standard uses the PDCA approach to drive forward thinking and the 10 clause structure echoes that of other management system standards.

Just as with other management system standards, understanding organisational context, providing appropriate leadership and support, evaluating performance and driving forward improvement all come in to play.


Independent Third-Party Certification

ISO 45001 defines the ‘requirements’ for an occupational health and safety management system and is therefore certifiable in the same way as other management system standards.

Our team of trained assessors are experienced auditors with extensive knowledge of ISO management systems and have received specialist training in the requirements of ISO 45001 – their knowledge and understanding of the requirements, coupled with their knowledge and understanding of the sector in which your business operates means they can deliver really effective audits of your system. 

They will use their skills, knowledge and experience to review your systems and actions against the requirements of the standard, providing you with the opportunity to share your expertise with your own organisation and with the wider marketplace and to identify areas for improvement.

Read more about ISO 45001 certification with CfA here

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