What is OHSAS 18001?
OHSAS 18001 is a framework for an occupational health and safety management system, that guides organizations to put in place the policies, procedures and controls needed for organizations to achieve the best possible working conditions and workplace health and safety, aligned to internationally recognized best practice.
OHSAS 18001 is going to be replaced by an updated standard under the International Standards Organization (ISO). ISO 45001 is currently in the approval phase of development, with expected publication of the new standard expected March 2018.
Customers that are currently following OHSAS 18001 standards will need to upgrade to ISO 45001 once it is introduced. We expect there will be a three year migration period for those who seek ISO 45001 certification.
Why Is ISO 45001 Needed over OHSAS 18001?
OHSAS 18001 was originally conceived in the U.K. back in 1999. In the years since, the globalization of companies has exploded. With this growth came a hasty cobbling together of standards to handle new health and safety challenges, which may or may not have had uniformity across borders.
It became clear that the workers of the world needed an expansion on the requirements for occupational health and safety, so it was more accessible to more organizations. To that end, the ISO Project Committee, ISO PC 283, was set up to develop an international standard for occupational health and safety, ISO 45001.
In spite of these changes, the overall aim of ISO 45001 remains the same as OHSAS 18001, which is to reduce unacceptable risks and ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in an organization’s activities.
ISO 45001 is intended for use by any organization, regardless of its size or the nature of its work, and can be integrated into other health and safety programs such as employee wellness and well-being.
Key differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 are summarized:
- Stronger focus on the “organization’s context”. With ISO 45001, organizations will have to look beyond their own health and safety issues and consider what the society expects from them, in regard with health and safety issues.
- Requires incorporation of health and safety into overall management system. Some organizations that use OHSAS 18001 delegate health and safety responsibilities to a safety manager, rather than integrating the system into the organization’s operations. ISO 45001requires the incorporation of health and safety aspects in the overall management system of the organization, thus driving top management to have a stronger leadership role with respect to the OH&S management system.
- More proactive. ISO 45001 focuses on identifying and controlling risks rather than hazards, as it is required in OHSAS 18001.
- Broader value chain responsibility. ISO 45001 requires organizations to take into account how suppliers and contractors are managing their risks.
- New definitions. In ISO 45001 some fundamental concepts are changed, like risk, worker and workplace. There are also new definitions of terms such as: monitoring, measurement, effectiveness, OH&S performance and process. Also, the terms “document” and “record” have both been replaced with the term “documented information” in ISO 45001. The standard also states that documented information must be maintained to the extent necessary to have confidence that the processes have been carried out as planned.
Does your organization need help in becoming prepared for the change from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001? If so, we would love to hear from you. Contact us today to start the conversation!