Construction workers working at height

ISO 45001:2018 is here

Published: March 14, 2018
Construction workers working at height

So it’s finally here – ISO has formally published its first standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems: ISO 45001:2018.

ISO 45001:2018 is intended to unify the way Health and Safety is managed across the globe. It also provides the same structure and framework as many other management systems standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 for Quality, ISO 14001:2015 for Environmental, and ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security, enabling much greater integration than what was achievable with AS/NZS 4801:2001 or OHSAS 18001:2007.

In order to help you understand the new standard and what it means, we’ve created a small FAQ below:

What does it mean?

On one hand, ISO 45001:2018 is a quantum shift in the way Health and Safety management systems standards are structured and written. On the other hand, due to the quality of the WHS legislation that we have in Australia relating to worker consultation and management accountability, the change to some organisations will be minimal. What ISO 45001:2018 will do is provide an excellent governance framework to enable top management to demonstrate their commitment towards Health and Safety, and provide assurance to an organisation’s stakeholders over an organisation’s management system framework and commitment.

How long to I have to be across the new standard?

This is a bit of a grey area at the moment, as ISO 45001:2018 is an entirely new standard and so will not directly supersede current standards like AS/NZS 4801:2001 and OHSAS 18001:2007, unlike the release of ISO 9001:2015, which directly superseded ISO 9001:2008. That said, it’s expected that the normal 3 year transition period will apply, whereby currently certified organisations have a three year period to shift their current system to demonstrate that it meets the requirements of the new standard. It will be up to individual certification bodies to liaise with their certified organisations to determine a specific transition plan. Some organisations may wish to transfer before the 3 years is up.

Update 20/03/2018

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) have confirmed that organisations will have the standard 3 year migration period to transfer their current management systems from OHSAS 18001:2007 to meet the requirements of ISO 45001:2018, and have specified that individual certification bodies should liaise with their clients to determine a specific transition plan. The document, found here, does make reference to AS/NZS 4801:2001 as a Health and Safety management systems standard, however does not specifically include it within the three year migration requirement. Due to AS/NZS 4801 being used primarily within Australia and New Zealand only, it is expected that JAS-ANZ will be the ones to determine its transition period. IAF reference OHSAS 18001:2007 as it is the more commonly used standard globally. 

How is it different to AS/NZS 4801 and/or OHSAS 18001?

ISO 45001:2018 represents a significant shift in management systems standards and certification. It is ISO’s first Health and Safety management systems standard, rather than previous standards which have been specific to Australia and New Zealand, or the UK. ISO 45001:2018 places a much greater influence on leadership and commitment, and provides greater clarity and structure around a governance framework for effective health and safety management. Additional clarity is provided in clauses like management review, participation and consultation, and hazard identification and risk assessments. New clauses and requirements have been added that include awareness, leadership and commitment, and understanding the organisation and its context.

It will align with other ISO management systems standards and follows ISO’s High Level Structure – a 10 clause structure providing core text and requirements for all management systems standards. This means that the structure of ISO 45001:2018 will be as follows:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
    4.1 Understanding the organisation and its context
    4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties
    4.3 Determining the scope of the OH&S management system
    4.4 OH&S management system
  5. Leadership
    5.1 Leadership and commitment
    5.2 OH&S policy
    5.3 Organisational roles, responsibilities and authorities
    5.4 Consultation and participation of workers
  6. Planning
    6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities
           6.1.1 General
           6.1.2 Hazard identification and assessment of risks and opportunities
           6.1.3 Determination of legal requirements and other requirements
           6.1.4 Planning action
    6.2 OH&S objectives and planning to achieve them
           6.2.1 OH&S objectives
           6.2.2 Planning to achieve OH&S objectives
  7. Support
    7.1 Resources
    7.2 Competence
    7.3 Awareness
    7.4 Communication
           7.4.1 General
           7.4.2 Internal communication
           7.4.3 External communication
    7.5 Documented information
           7.5.1 General
           7.5.2 Creating and updating
           7.5.3 Control of documented information
  8. Operation
    8.1 Operational planning and control
           8.1.1 General
           8.1.2 Eliminating hazards and reducing OH&S risks
           8.1.3 Management of change
           8.1.4 Procurement
    8.2 Emergency preparedness and response
  9. Performance Evaluation
    9.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation
           9.1.1 General
           9.1.2 Evaluation of compliance
    9.2 Internal audit
           9.2.1 General
           9.2.2 Internal audit programme
    9.3 Management review
  10. Improvement
    10.1 General
    10.2 Incident, nonconformity and corrective action
    10.3 Continual improvement

Who has to complete the qualification for the new standard?

If you’re an internal auditor, it will be up to you and your organisation to determine how and when they’d like to you be across to the new standard. The easiest way will typically be to achieve the new Exemplar Global competency unit for the standard – Exemplar Global 45001.

If you’re an external auditor, you will need to achieve the new competency unit, Exemplar Global 45001. If you’re registered as an auditor with Exemplar Global, you will then need to liaise with them to determine the best plan going forward; the first step will be to achieve the competency unit.

What if I had an audit just before the standard was released?

Organisations will likely have a 3 year transition period from their current standard to ISO 45001:2018. If you have just had your most recent compliance or surveillance audit, your current certification will be maintained until your next compliance or surveillance audit is due. It is up to your individual certification body, in consultation with yourself as the organisation, to determine how and when you will be certified to the new standard.

Do I have to have another audit based on the new standard?

No you don’t. Your certification to either AS/NZS 4801:2001 or OHSAS 18001:2007 will remain valid until your next recertification audit. If this recertification audit is due before the end of the 3 year transition period for ISO 45001:2018, it will be up to yourself and your certification body to determine whether you’d like to transfer fully to ISO 45001:2018, or maintain the existing certification and transition to the new standard before the 3 year period is up.

So why is it OH&S, not WHS?

WHS is an Australian term referenced within our Health and Safety legislation, whereas globally, OH&S or Occupational Health and Safety is the generally preferred term globally. From a practical sense, there really isn’t a difference between the two terms – use whichever you and your organisation prefer.

Will there be leniency for non-conformances if audits are completed before changes are made to policies and procedures?

Typically, certification bodies will treat the first round of audits after the release of a new standard as a certification audit against the existing standard and a gap analysis against the new standard. It’s up to the individual organisation and the certification body to determine their own transition plan.

Do you have other questions about ISO 45001:2018? Let us know below.



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