by David Solomon
ISO 45001 is the new international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S), providing a framework for managing the prevention of death, work-related injury, and illness. Its intended outcome is improving and providing a safe and healthy workplace for workers and persons under an organization’s control.
ISO 45001 recognizes other nationally recognized standards in this area, such as United Kingdom OHSAS 18001, Australia AS/NZS 4801, USA Z10, and Canada Z1000. The standard is intended to help organizations regardless of size or industry to design systems to proactively prevent injury and ill health. All of its requirements are designed to be integrated into an organization’s management processes.
The second public ballot on draft ISO 45001 (ISO DIS2 45001) is now complete, with an overwhelming amount of international support. The document has received a very high level of endorsement by ISO members and is one step closer to its publication. The vote breakdown was as follows—approvals 57, disapprovals seven, abstentions eight. In accordance with the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, 2017, clause 2.6.3, the DIS2 has been approved.
This means that the standard is now hopefully reaching its final stages, suggesting that there will be a positive discussion on the comments when Project Committee PC 283 meets next month in Malaysia.
The members of the national standardization bodies have submitted approximately 16,027 comments on proposed changes on the draft that they would like to see. PC 283 will have to disposition them in the next meeting scheduled to be held in September.
Now there can be a widely recognized and understood international standard that can help to improve occupational health and safety performance for employees and organizations.
Companies that want to take occupational health and safety seriously need the ISO 45001 standard on occupational health and safety management systems.
ISO 45001 will adopt the Annex SL process and structure, making integration of multiple ISO management systems easier. This is not an ISO standard, but an ISO directive which prescribes on the development of management system standards and has been developed to ensure that only standards with a sound justification can be developed. It prescribes the structure, terms and definitions that are common, is intended to (wherever possible) facilitate integration, and uses a risk-based approach.
That can be applied to:
- ISO 9001, Quality management systems
- ISO 14001, Environmental management systems
- ISO 22001, Food Safety management systems
- ISO 27001, Information Security management systems
- ISO 55001, Asset management systems
The acid test will be how the certification bodies audit the new standard. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the principles it embodies.
Finally, it seems like companies around the world that take occupational health and safety seriously will have a valid tool for a systematic approach to creating safe and healthy workplaces.
About the author
David Solomon is executive officer for safety and risk at Master Builders New South Wales, Australia. He has represented Australia at the past seven ISO/PC283 ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management systems meetings, where he has held positions such as deputy task group leader of definitions, member of the task group leaders, member of the editorial committee, and in more recently was deputy convenor to a smaller working group that met in Denmark.