Occupational Health & Safety Management—ISO 45001:2018

“ASSP is the  administrator of the technical advisory group (TAG) to ANSI for the ISO TC-283 Committee, the global group responsible for the ISO 45001 OHSMS standard. This role reflects our position as a global champion of these systems and our advocacy for the importance of effective safety management overall.” Tim Fisher, CSP, CHMM, CPEA, CAE, ARM, STS, FASSP Director, Standards Development and Technical Services


Occupational safety and health (OH&S) management systems help organizations continuously identify and eliminate safety and health risks; reduce incident potential; comply with regulations; and implement risk-reducing interventions.

ISO 45001 is the first standard of its kind, and it includes decades of health and safety regulations and best practices, blending them into the familiar and effective format of the ISO standard for management and improvements. 

Adopting a risk-based approach from ISO and drawing requirements from the former benchmark, OHSAS 18001, the program follows previously set benchmarks of the International Labor Organization (ILO). It also helps create an effective path to ongoing safety awareness and improvement.

Not surprisingly, the major focus of 45001 is the necessity of top-down leadership through implementation and continued compliance. This is arguably the most important standard to employ this requirement, which asks executive leadership to commit themselves to employee safety.

Why Standard is Important

ANSI/ASSP/ISO 45001 is a global standard for OS&H management systems that provides practical solutions for worker safety. It can help create a global foundation of worker safety standards and inspections that can be used by all global supply chains, for all industries, and covers contractors and subcontractors in every country that supply products into these supply chains.

The standard provides a framework from which occupational safety and health objectives can be effectively managed—thus serving the needs of those who manage, use or benefit from global supply chains. Certifying to ISO 45001 can help drive solutions for improving organizational safety performance, assessing and eliminating risk, and increasing productivity. All organizations, regardless of industry, should prioritize employee health, safety and general well-being. 

Through ISO 45001, worker productivity and morale can be improved and enhanced. This happens by focusing industry-best health and safety practices. With the implementation of ISO 45001, companies can be on the forefront of best practices.

Key Compliance Requirements

Increased attention to employee health and safety means increases in regulations and legal compliance. The ISO 45001 certification process provides an avenue for companies not only to understand how regulatory and statutory requirements can impact a business, but also how to create processes and programs to satisfy all of the requirements.

ISO 45001:2018, specifically, is applicable to any organization that wishes to establish, implement and maintain an OH&S management system to improve occupational health and safety; eliminate hazards and minimize OH&S risks (including system deficiencies); take advantage of OH&S opportunities; and address OH&S management system non-conformities associated with its activities.

According to iso.org, the 2018 addition to the standard also helps an organization “to achieve the intended outcomes of its OH&S management system.” 

Consistent with the organization’s OH&S policy, the intended outcomes of an OH&S management system include:

  • Continual improvement of OH&S performance
  • Fulfilment of legal requirements and other requirements
  • Achievement of OH&S objectives

Further, ISO 45001:2018 is applicable to any organization regardless of its size, type or activities. It is applicable to the OH&S risks under the organization’s control, taking into account factors like the context in which the organization operates, and the needs and expectations of its workers and other interested parties.

The 2018 standard does not state specific criteria for OH&S performance, nor is it prescriptive about the design of an OH&S management system. ISO 45001:2018 enables an organization, through its OH&S management system, to integrate other aspects of health and safety, such as worker well-being.

The standard does not address issues such as product safety, property damage or environmental impacts, beyond risks to workers and other relevant interested parties.

In addition, according to the standard, “ISO 45001:2018 can be used in whole or in part to systematically improve occupational health and safety management. However, claims of conformity to this document are not acceptable unless all its requirements are incorporated into an organization’s OH&S management system and fulfilled without exclusion.” 


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