What is ISO 45001 certification?
ISO 45001 certification is a globally recognized standard that sets out the guidelines for implementing effective occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems. It offers organizations a structured approach to identify and address potential risks and opportunities related to worker health, ultimately aiming to prevent illnesses and injuries in the workplace.
Despite its foundation in OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001 presents notable divergences, requiring organizations to address these dissimilarities for successful compliance.
Two crucial aspects of the ISO 45001 standard deserve emphasis. Firstly, it emphasizes a top-down approach to safety, where organizational leaders demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the well-being of their workers. By integrating safety and health into the management system, ISO 45001 ensures that C-suite executives hold responsibility for safeguarding worker wellness.
The ISO 45001 standard places a stronger emphasis on the practice of risk management.. Unlike OHSAS 18001, which only focused on controlling known hazards, ISO 45001 requires organizations to take a risk-based approach to proactively identify sources or situations that have the potential to cause harm. This represents a broader trend where risk management is becoming an integral part of a company's operations at all levels.
ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) is an internationally recognized standard that outlines the requirements for implementing an effective occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. The standard provides guidance on using this system to proactively enhance an organization's OH&S performance, with a primary focus on preventing injuries and illnesses.
ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) is designed to be applicable to all types and sizes of organizations, regardless of their nature of operation. By adopting this standard, organizations can integrate various health and safety aspects, including worker wellness and well-being, into their OH&S management system.
It's essential to note that while ISO 45001 encourages addressing additional health and safety issues, such as worker wellness, organizations may still be obligated to comply with relevant legal requirements related to these matters.
An OH&SMS (Occupational Health & Safety Management System) defines the structure that an organization adopts to ensure the well-being of its employees regarding occupational health and safety matters. It comprises a comprehensive set of regulations, policies, procedures, plans, and practices aimed at preventing occupational health and safety hazards and mitigating risks within the workplace.
Each OH&SMS is unique to an organization and must be tailored to align with legal requirements, specific occupational health and safety hazards, and the business processes implemented by that organization. ISO 45001 serves as a reference for implementing the most effective OH&SMS practices. By adhering to its requirements and guidelines, organizations can establish a robust OH&SMS that covers all vital aspects, reducing the likelihood of overlooking critical elements in the process.
Benefits of ISO 45001
In combination, these measures will ensure that an organization’s reputation as a safe place to work will be promoted, and can have more direct benefits, such as:
- Improving its ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues.
- Reducing the overall costs of incidents.
- Reducing downtime and the costs of disruption to operations.
- Reducing the cost of insurance premiums.
- Reducing absenteeism and employee turnover rates.
- Identification for having achieved an international benchmark (which
may in turn influence customers who are concerned about their social
- Improve employee safety.
- Boost stakeholder confidence.
- Increase productivity.
- Lower insurance costs.
- Foster management involvement & accountability.
- Reduce risk.
- Identify opportunities.
- Stand out as an industry leader.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
- Engage employees in safety.
- The shift from reactive to proactive.
- Demonstrate your commitment to safety.
What is ISO 45001 for?
ISO 45001 is a versatile standard that benefits all organizations seeking to minimize workplace illnesses, and injuries, and enhance productivity. Regardless of their size or industry, any organization can implement this standard to promote a safer and more productive work environment.
Although not compulsory, numerous companies have experienced significant advantages by willingly adhering to ISO 45001. Apart from the evident enhancement in worker safety, compliance with this standard serves as a powerful demonstration to customers, investors, and regulators of your commitment to ensuring worker safety. Additionally, adopting ISO standards is particularly viewed favorably, especially in European countries.
How to Implement ISO 45001?
Embarking on the journey of implementing and obtaining ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) certification for your Occupational Health & Safety management system can indeed be challenging. The vast array of requirements within the ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) standard might seem overwhelming at first. To simplify this process and gain a clearer understanding, consider the following 12 steps that address crucial aspects of your system. These steps will help you navigate through the essential elements and key questions to ensure a smoother and more successful certification process.
- Get the support of management: How will you get crucial management support ‑ talk to individuals separately, or in a joint meeting? To help with the tone of your sales, take a look at this article on 4 key benefits of ISO 45001 for your business and this Project plan for ISO 45001 implementation.
- Know your legal requirements: Do you have health & safety laws for your industry? Have you looked at the regional, state, national, and international levels? Section 6.1.3 of ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) outlines the requirements for understanding and maintaining your compliance so that your implementation will succeed.
- Define the scope of your ISO 45001 OH&S management system: Is your ISO 45001 OH&S management system applicable to your entire organization, or just one location of a multi-location organization? This will be critical for preparing your ISO 45001 OH&S Policy, and objectives and plans that guide your ISO 45001 OH&S management system.
- Define the processes and procedures: What processes and procedures require to be defined to control the OH&S hazards within your organization? How will you identify all of your hazards, and the risks associated with them, so that you can ensure the proper controls will be in place? What risk assessment do you need to do? What operational controls and emergency preparedness procedures do you need? What will you write down, and what can be controlled through proper training and awareness?
- Implement the ISO 45001 OH&SMS processes and procedures: What do you need to do to put into place all of the processes and procedures from Step 4? What sort of hierarchy of controls and procedures do you need? Do you need to work closely with some individuals in your organization to achieve success? How will you roll out the additional responsibilities that some employees will now have?
- Educate your employees and make them aware: How will you make your employees aware of what ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) is, and why you are implementing it? Will you have training sessions in department meetings, or will managers educate the employees? Who needs to be trained on any changes you have made to the processes? It is important that everyone knows how they fit into the ISO 45001 OH&S Management system structure.
- Select your certification body: It is important to select a certification body suitable for your company to get the most benefit, so how will you do this? Do the auditors know about your industry and the hazards and risks associated with it? What other organizations have the company certified, and what was their level of satisfaction? How does the certification body think that they will give benefit you? These are all questions that you should ask potential certification bodies when you are choosing the right one for you.
- Apply the OH&S management system and keep records: As you proceed, what do the IS045001 OH&S records tell you about your processes? Are they working effectively, or do you need to modify anything through your corrective action process? Do your employees understand what they need to do, as written in the records, or is there further training needed in some areas? Do you see areas for improvement in your processes, and if so, how can you profit from this? Find out from your certification body how long they require this period to be before they consider the management system mature enough to audit.
- Do your internal audits: Your internal audits are the tools you use to check each of your processes, so what are they telling you? Are your records adequate to show the process is working? Are there any problems that you need to fix with your corrective action process? Do some areas need more frequent audits?
- Do a management review: Is your ISO 45001 OH&S management system functioning as expected by the top management plan? Is it properly implemented and effective? Are improvements being made, and are adequate resources being supplied to the effort? You will only understand this by having a management review, of the output of your management system.
- Corrective actions: Are there problems in your ISo 45001 OH&S management system you will need to fix? Did you find these in your process measurements, internal audits, or management review? Have you included ISO 45001 OH&S incident investigation in your corrective action system? Use your corrective action process to find the root cause of the issue and address this cause with corrective action.
- Certification audits: When you are ready, your certification body will send in people to compare your ISO 45001 OH&S management system plans, processes, and procedures against the required requirements of ISO 45001 (OH&SMS). Were there any gaps found, and did the auditor’s report indicate these? If so, you will need to correct them and gather evidence showing that they were addressed. Then, when your system is mature and sufficient, your certification body will conduct the main audit to compare your records to your plans and the ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) requirements. Did you address any non-conformances in your process data, internal audits, or management reviews? After some days the audit team will submit a report with their findings, including any corrective actions needed. When they are satisfied that your management system addresses the needs of the ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) requirements, they will submit a recommendation for certification.
Top tips for implementing ISO 45001
- Get commitment and support from senior management
- Captivate the whole business with good internal communication
- Compare your existing systems with ISO 45001 (OH&SMS) requirements
- Initiate an implementation team to get the best results
- Map out and share roles, responsibilities, and timescales
Principles of ISO 45001
ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System operates on a fundamental principle: fostering a comprehensive awareness of occupational health and safety among both managers and employees. This focus not only results in improved productivity and enhanced competitiveness for the enterprise but also elevates its reputation in the market. By prioritizing the well-being of their workforce, organizations can achieve greater success and recognition in their industry.
Other important principles of the OHSAS 18001 system can be listed as follows.
- With ISO 45001, subcontractors and suppliers in the organization are also within the scope of the Management System.
- ISO 45001 focuses more on risk management and continuous development.
- ISO 45001 includes subcontractors, suppliers, and contractors.
- Performance evaluations are more frequently found in ISO 45001.
- In ISO 45001; New concepts such as Organizational Context, Leadership, and Certified Knowledge.