The New ISO 45001 Occupational Health And Safety Management System (OHSMS) -All You Need To Know

The New ISO 45001 Occupational Health And Safety Management System (OHSMS) -All You Need To Know

The New ISO 45001 Occupational Health And Safety Management System (OHSMS) -All You Need To Know

Whether it’s a failure to protect workers against toxic chemicals, or a sleep-deprived employee getting into a fatal car accident, millions of people are hurt or killed at work each year. Now, with the arrival of the world’s first International Standard on occupational health and safety, many such incidents can be prevented. Uncover why ISO 45001 has the potential to be a real game changer for millions of workers (and workplace health hazards) around the world.

The next time someone tells you “my job is killing me”, remember that it may not just be a figure of speech. Research has shown that every 15 seconds, in the world, a worker dies from a work-­related accident or disease, and 153 people experience a work-­related injury. And now there’s new data that workplace accidents are on the rise, amounting to some 500 000 more injuries than just three short years ago.

Over 7600 people die each year from work related accidents or diseases, that’s over 2.78 million every year.

Worst still, when it happens, we hardly know what to do since we are configure to react than being proactive.

ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System Standard release in April, 2018 as a replacement for OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System provides opportunities for organization to manage its occupational health and safety risk.

Prevention Pays

So what responsibilities do companies have to protect their employees? Employers have a duty to either reduce exposure or equip employees with preventative skills and tools to minimize risk. In other words: prevention pays. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the motto of the XXI World Congress 2017 was “A Global Vision of Prevention”.

Prevention is key to tackling the burden of worker safety, and is considered to be more effective (and less costly) than treatment and rehabilitation. In line with the World Congress motto, ISO 45001 takes on a risk-based approach to managing OH&S.

David Smith, Chair of ISO/PC 283 that developed ISO 45001, says businesses need to ensure they manage all their risks to survive and to thrive. “OH&S is a key aspect, which every business has to manage proactively,” he says. “Apart from the devastating impact on people, poor OH&S management can have many negative effects on organizations, such as the loss of key employees, business interruption, claims, insurance premiums, regulatory action, reputational damage, loss of investors and, ultimately, the loss of business.”

Smith says that the risk-based approach to managing OH&S contained in ISO 45001 advocates taking a preventative angle to OH&S in order to identify what activities and processes could harm those working on behalf of the organization and others (i.e. visitors, members of the public, etc.) and to meet any legal compliance requirements. He adds that identifying the hazards at work is a prerequisite to eliminating or minimizing those that pose a significant risk.

The ongoing assessment of risks and opportunities is also a common element in ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management), which use a similar risk-based framework and the Plan-Do-Check-Act model. Effective application of these measures should address concerns that can lead to long-term health issues and absence from work, as well as those that give rise to accidents, says Smith. They are among the reasons why ISO 45001 is considered a significant improvement on OHSAS 18001, which will be replaced by the new ISO standard during a three-year migration period.

A Company Culture

Of course, any conversation on OH&S has to include the companies. Because when an employee is injured, companies lose out on that person’s experience and knowledge, as well as their labour of course. Multiply this out over several hundred (or thousand) employees and the costs can become quite severe.

Ideally, every work setting would enhance your health and life. Many companies can and do work towards this goal, including the LEGO Group, a children’s toy manufacturer based in Denmark. With 16 836 employees, the company recognizes the importance and value in keeping its employees healthy and safe, and will soon be making the transition to ISO 45001.

There are two phrases that indicate what kind of document is required by the standard. The phrase “retain documented information as evidence of …” means the record needs to be produced, while the phrase “maintain as documented information” means that the document needs to be developed, including the procedures.

Here is the list of mandatory documented information required by ISO 45001, along with the documents most commonly used in the implementation of Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OH&SMS).

Here are the documents you need to produce if you want to be compliant with ISO 45001:

  • Scope of the OH&S management system (clause 4.3)
  • OH&S policy (clause 5.2)
  • Responsibilities and authorities within OH&SMS (clause 5.3)
  • OH&S process for addressing risks and opportunities (clause 6.1.1)
  • Methodology and criteria for assessment of OH&S risks (clause
  • OH&S objectives and plans for achieving them (clause 6.2.2)
  • Emergency preparedness and response process (clause 8.2)

And, here are the mandatory records:

  • OH&S risks and opportunities and actions for addressing them (clause 6.1.1)
  • Legal and other requirements (clause 6.1.3)
  • Evidence of competence (clause 7.3)
  • Evidence of communications (clause 7.4.1)
  • Plans for responding to potential emergency situations (clause 8.2)
  • Results on monitoring, measurements, analysis and performance evaluation (clause 9.1.1)
  • Maintenance, calibration or verification of monitoring equipment (clause 9.1.1)
  • Compliance evaluation results (clause 9.1.2)
  • Internal audit program (clause 9.2.2)
  • Internal audit report (clause 9.2.2)
  • Results of management review (clause 9.3)
  • Nature of incidents or nonconformities and any subsequent action taken (clause 10.2)
  • Results of any action and corrective action, including their effectiveness (clause 10.2)
  • Evidence of the results of continual improvement (clause 10.3)

Non-mandatory documents

There are numerous non-mandatory documents that can be used for ISO 45001 implementation. However, these are the non-mandatory documents that are most commonly used:

  • Procedure for Determining Context of the Organization and Interested Parties (clause 4.1)
  • OH&S Manual (clause 4)
  • Procedure for Consultation and Participation of Workers (clause 5.4)
  • Procedure for Hazard Identification and Assessment (clause
  • Procedure for Identification of Legal Requirements (clause 6.1.3)
  • Procedure for Communication (clause 7.4.1)
  • Procedure for Document and Record Control (clause 7.5)
  • Procedure for Operational Planning and Control (clause 8.1)
  • Procedure for Change Management (clause 8.1.3)
  • Procedure for Monitoring, Measuring and Analysis (clause 9.1.1)
  • Procedure for Compliance Evaluation (clause 9.1.2)
  • Procedure for Internal Audit (clause 9.2)
  • Procedure for Management Review (clause 9.3)
  • Procedure for Incident Investigation (clause 10.1)
  • Procedure for Management of Nonconformities and Corrective Actions (clause 10.1)
  • Procedure for Continual Improvement (clause 10.3)

By taking a look at the requirements for documented information in ISO 45001, you can easily come to the conclusion that the same approach is applied as for other management system standards that went through the revision process in the last several years. The main objective of the documentation requirements is to ensure consistency of the processes and provide evidence that procedures are applied; and, by meeting the requirements of the standard regarding the documentation, the organization will most certainly achieve this objective.


By Omobola Oropo


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