A new ISO standard has been recently released by the International Standardisation Organisation to replace the long-running occupational health and safety management system OHSAS 18001 standard.

So what are the differences between the two standards, and how will it affect the way management systems are recognised, assessed and certified? In this blog, we explore a few key aspects of both.

An Integrative Approach to OHS

Published in March 2018, the new ISO 45001 standard comes with a different structure than OHSAS 18001, based on a more integrative approach to health and safety processes in the management systems of the future.

The new ISO 45001 structure aims to facilitate the implementation process and the integration of several management systems in a more harmonised and efficient manner.

The standard guideline follows other generic management system approaches such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 and includes scope, normative references, terms and definitions, as well as notes on leadership, planning, performance evaluation, improvements and support.

However, an important revision is the increased focus on the context of the organisation – companies now have to consider the bigger picture and the society at large regarding health and safety practices beyond their internal evaluations.

Although some terminology and fundamental definitions have changed, the aim of ISO 45001 is similar in scope as with that of OHSAS 18001: to minimise occupational risks and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all workers involved in business operations.

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Strong Focus on Risk Management

The new standard carries a heavier weight on risk management and preventative measurements. While both standards ensure the quality of OHS business practices, ISO 45001 strongly focuses on identifying and controlling risks rather than dealing with safety hazards as required by OHSAS 18001.

Furthermore, following on the more integrative approach to occupational health and safety, ISO 45001 requires enterprises to also take into account how suppliers and contractors are managing their risks.

It is because ISO 45001 requires the inclusion of OHS practices in the overall management of the organisation, which prompts management and leadership to drive better OHS compliance within their management system and get stakeholders involved – as opposed to just delegating the health and safety responsibilities to a safety manager.

Find out more information about ISO 45001 here.

The SHEQX (Health, Safety, Environment and Quality) management solution and the Occupational Health and Wellness Management Solution (OCCX), part of the XGRC product range, are integrated management systems that assist in driving compliance with international standards and guidelines, e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, OHSAS 18001 and more.