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Safety Management ISO 45001:2016

December 8, 2013

ISO 45001: 2016

By Wayne J. Harris

The clocking is ticking as we look forward to OHSAS 18001 becoming an official ISO standard, known as ISO 45001.  The big question on everyone’s mind is whether it will deliver the results that everyone is expecting. With poor health and safety management costing around 4% of global GDP, will the new international standard’s impact have the potential to save lives, reduce accidents and improve employee morale?

Present Status

ISO formed the ISO Committee ISO/PC 283 – Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, with an objective to develop and publish an international standard for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) based on OHSAS 18001.  The new standard will be official called ISO 45001:2016.

Now some of you may ask why they are calling it 45001, well unfortunately ISO 18001 was already taken

ISO 45001:2016  Safety File

The ISO 45001 standard will utilize the same common structure, definitions and core text being used for the present revisions of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, the environmental and quality management system standards. Which is in line with what is called “Annex SL” the rules governing the development of all ISO management standards.

This will mean the structure of the new 45001 standard shall include:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

ISO Plan for Development and Publication

ISO 45001: 2016

The standard’s publication is still some time off, and is not due to be released till October 2016.  But the end result will hopefully be an up-to-date health and safety management standard that will allow practicable and efficient integration with the likes of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.

At the first meeting of the ISO/PC 283 committee, held in October 2013, members established an outline project plan for the development and publication of the ISO 4500 standard:

  • ISO/CD 45001 (first committee draft) to be published by May 2014;
  • ISO/DIS 45001 (first draft international standard) to be published by February 2015;
  • ISO/FDIS 45001 (final draft international standard) to be published by March 2016;
  • ISO 45001 to be published in October 2016.

Final Comment

The new international standard and its impact on industry will be closely watched by business leaders and safety professionals around the world.  If done correctly it has the potential to improve safety standards, performance and ultimately reduce accident rates. However if not managed properly it could end up being just a paper exercise and a new certificate on the wall.

One thing for sure, there will be many spin doctors selling their brand new schemes on how to comply and ensure you pass any certification process. But before you leap into the fire, take a step back and really look at the standard. It might be easier than you first think to develop and implement within your organisation.

About the Author.

Wayne J Harris Health and Safety

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems.  He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management for over 30 years.  email:

  1. Dilawar Khan permalink

    Thanks Mr. Wayne for bringing the news.

  2. I like the idea of all of the systems coming under one “roof”, however, will it improve safety or simply be adding one more layer of bureaucracy? One thing for sure though the spin doctors will be out selling the new version as the end all be all.

  3. OHSAS 18001 has been benchmarking Safety Management for many years now using the ‘continuous improvement’ cycle, also referenced in a number of globally recognised standards. Let’s hope that the new ISO 45001 also forms part of the continuous improvement cycle by maintaining a holistic, yet simple approach when it becomes the ‘official’ standard of benchmarking safety management systems. Any significant changes will add to the woes of those organisations who have already based their systems on the existing standards and gained 3rd part accreditation. It is hoped that any conversions necessary will be appropriately and sympathetically considered with regard to application, understanding and cost.

  4. Dr Shaun Dent permalink

    By seeing the 18001 accreditation on a company web site it at least gives you some comfort that the company has some safety in place or otherwise how did they get the accreditation?. I guess changing the iso number will only have the same impact the Senior Management want to give it.

  5. Raj permalink

    Thanks Wayne, for sharing the news with us, I believe it makes lot of sense combining ISO 9001, 14001 and BS-OHSAS 18001 in one standard, It will be easy from implementation and auditing point of view. lets hope the ISO 45001 comes out soon.

  6. kamesh permalink


  7. Cipriano Corva permalink

    Good pick-up Raj,
    However, my understanding from Wayne’s initial post/discussion is that ISO 45001:2016 will be an upgrade of OHSAS 18001 as a (SILO) stand alone OHS management system; although it will be developed using the ISO ANNEX SL – rules governing the development of all ISO management standards.
    I have suggested that it would be better to develop an ISO Integrated Management System for WORK- Safety, Health, Environment, Quality and Maintenance; using the ISO ANNEX SL rules. The IMS – S/H/E/Q/M could be tailored to any Organisational Management System, be they small, medium or large size. I have developed a number of IMS’s for a variety of companies in various industries, ranging from Tram business to National cleaning company employing over 4,000 full time employees; and also part-time employees.
    This system is more efficient, productive and cost effective; and it reduces paper work, time and effort to carry out investigations, audits, risk assessments, meetings and reports, etc.
    I would be happy to send you a copy of an outline of the contents of the IMS; if you can please send me your Email address. If anybody else is interested in receiving copies, please email me your private address.
    I am also aware that the ILO has developed Guidelines on occupational safety and health management systems (ILO-OSH 2001) as well as other documents; and they are not keen on the idea of the ISO developing yet another International standard – ISO 45001:2016.
    Perhaps, it would be a lot better for Global co-operation between capital and labour; and social responsibility, to form a global joint group (team or committee) involving the ILO; UN; ISO, and possibly other stake holders , to develop an Integrated Management System for Safety/Health/Environment/ Quality/Maintenance.
    Remember that (in this World) “SAFETY” is safety in what we do; how we do it; when we do it; where we do it and who we do it with!


    • Agree – safety is the control of accidental loss relating to injury, poor health, poor quality, process and environmental losses. It includes preventing accidents and keeping losses to a minimum when accident do occur..

  8. Alocious T. Fernandez permalink

    It would be a good idea to involve ILO also in this exercise as many labour unions demand enforcement of the OSH clauses from ILO -OSH 2001, whereas OHSAS 18001: 2007 requirements are adopted on a voluntary basis. If an International Standard on occupational safety and health is established jointly by ILO and ISO it will end the confusion about most acceptable standard which can be adopted world over.

  9. On the face of it the standard is heading the right way as it will integrate more readily with the revised 9001 and 14001 standards due for re-launch in 2015.
    A fully integrated system appears to be the way things are heading but my own personal view is that the standards should remain separate and left to individual choice as whether the company needs them or not.
    There are too many companies jumping on the bandwagon already with respect to 14001 Environmental Management System certification which in my view, should only be applicable to companies that have some fairly significant impact on the environment.
    I appreciate that H&S is paramount within any business and that it’s law. That doesn’t mean to say however that a company can’t have a good H&S System if it’s not certified.

    Paul Plumridge
    QuServe Quality Consultancy Ltd

    • Wayne Erdbeer permalink

      Well put Paul. I agree that only companies that have a significant impact on the environment should have 14001. And yes companies can have good, if not great H&S systems without certification. I have yet to see proof that certification actually reduces injuries!

      Wayne Erdbeer
      H&S Manager

  10. Tumusiime Bob permalink

    Great news for the new stride in safety management. Long live Wayne for your input.

    HSSE supervisor
    Pearl Engineering Company Ltd-Uganda

  11. DrSurinder Kumar Puri permalink

    I feel ILO , UN and ISO could be involved in the development of ISO 45,001:2016, in this case OSH part of ILO Guidelines on occupational safety and health management systems (ILO-OSH 2001) as well as other documents could find a well deserved place in the proposed ISO 45001:2016 Stanard

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