OHSAS 18001 becomes ISO 45001

By | 2018-02-13T18:04:31+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Standards|0 Comments

Health and safety professionals and organisations all over the world have been eagerly awaiting the publication of the final draft of the ISO 45001 standard.

What is ISO45001?

ISO 45001 is the future replacement to OHSAS 18001 and will become the international ISO standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS).

Not only will the standard supercede OHSAS 18001, it will make integration with other management systems simpler than ever before; because it shares the new common structure defined by Annex SL, it is directly aligned with the 2015 versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

As this is a new ISO standard, the structure and content has been completely revised, with new and enhanced requirements throughout. The new structure is arranged into 10 sections (Annex SL):

  1. Scope (of the standard)
  2. Normative References (of the standard)
  3. Terms and Definitions (of the standard)
  4. Context of the Organization
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance Evaluation
  10. Improvement

The requirements of the standard are defined in sections 4-10 inclusively and are capable of being aligned to other recently revised ISO management systems, such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. Remember – as with all management systems, it is not about just complying with the individual clauses but how these requirements relate to each other, and work together to provide an effective system.

The new ISO standard builds on previous OHSMS standard (OHSAS 18001) and promotes the integration of the health and safety system in to the core management of the organization. The requirements are designed and required to interrelate to other sections, performance, information and changes and cannot operate effectively in isolation.

Whether you’re considering obtaining ISO 45001 certification from scratch or already have an OHSAS 18001 and are looking migrate, the certification process is similar.

OHSAS 18001 vs ISO 45001  gap analysis- download HERE.

Implications & Migration to ISO 45001

If you have certification to OHSAS 18001 you will need to migrate to ISO 45001 to maintain the validity of certification.

The ISO 45001 FDIS was published in November 2017. The final standard is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2018, so there is still time to plan the migration.


Because ISO 45001 has to be agreed globally, do you think it will be a ‘watered down’ version of OHSAS 18001? 

No – it is a new standard using an established structure based on an effective management model, it is designed to be used as part of a business management

Legislation registers / Aspects and Impacts Registers: Is there a minimum requirement for what they must contain? 

No – the contents will be based on the business activity, geographical location and local /national enforcement requirements. Each organisation is unique.

If we adopt the new standard now (before we are able to migrate) will the organisation still be able to meet the requirements of OHSAS 18001 and hence maintain certification? 

The clause by clause requirements for the existing OHSAS 18001 are established and can be used for registration – the draft 45001 standard is not approved but there will be common elements, however as the draft ISO standard is still subject to potential change – to be sure, use what is currently approved – OHSAS 18001. Refinements can be made without compromising the integrity of an existing 18001 system.

Preparing for ISO 45001 Certification

Charles Corrie’s recommendations to adopters and non-users of OHSAS 18001 health and safety management systems:

Existing OHSAS18001 certificate holders – Don’t Panic!

Many clauses requirements of ISO 45001 will be the same as OHSAS 18001 – however they may be presented in a different sequence and may use different terminology.

Advice to existing users:

  • Get a copy of the final draft standard at www.iso.org/iso/iso45001
  • Examine the changes
  • Do a gap analysis against your current OHSAS 18001 system
  • Start planning your transition towards using the new standard

Don’t wait for ISO 45001 to be published before implementing a Health and Safety Management System as OHSAS 18001 will have a three year transition period. There are significant benefits to be realized by your business now.

ISO45001 deployment Timeline


Whilst we wait for the standard to be published, book a Gap Analysis with an NQA assessor to review your current management system and highlight any gaps against ISO 45001. Contact NQA to book your visit by emailing sales@nqa.com or calling 0800 052 2424.

For more information on ISO 45001, visit our website: www.nqa.com/iso45001 

About the Author:

HSE Professional with more than 14 years experience in the Upstream Oil & Gas industry. Created this website to help the HSE Professionals from around the globe to form a sharing and learning community. My inspiration in HSE is a verse from Quran: whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely [Quran, al Maida 5:32]