What has the ISO 45001 Draft International Standard shown us so far?

What have we seen so far in the current Draft International Standards (DIS)?

As with the new ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Standards, the ISO 45001 standard now requires businesses to look beyond their own health and safety requirements and consider what external requirements there are, in regard to health and safety issues.  This means that business will now have to incorporate the working environment (site work) and equipment used outside of the boundaries of the business address.

Currently with OHSAS 18001, health and safety responsibilities are designated to a ‘competent’ Health & Safety Manager, as opposed to integrating the system into the day to day business operations. This has generally led to one individual being wholly responsible for the entire Health & Safety of the company and quite often the word ‘competent’ is called into question.

The ISO 45001 Standard requires that health and safety aspects are now integrated into the overall management system, with an emphasis on driving top management to have a stronger leadership role when it comes to the Health & Safety Management System.

What are the main changes?

There is more emphasis in the ISO 45001 Standard on identifying and controlling ‘risks’ as opposed to just the ‘hazards’, as previously detailed in OHSAS 18001. We interpret the two aspects as follows:

  • A ‘hazard’is something that can cause harm, e.g. electricity, chemicals, working at height, noise, DSE, emotional issues including stress and bullying, etc.
  • A ‘risk’is the chance, high or low, that any hazard will actually cause somebody harm.

Electric cabling is a hazard. If electrical cabling becomes snagged due to a tree falling, the exposed wiring places it in a ‘high-risk’ category.

There is also going to be more emphasis on businesses taking into account how suppliers and contractors are managing their risks.  This can be covered within the Supplier Evaluation elements of ISO 9001, with modification of the Questionnaire template.  This will include obtaining copies of certification from subcontractors to prove that they are CHAS, SafeContractor, etc approved and checking that insurances are valid for the works being carried out.

Following the changes we have already seen within the ISO 9001 : 2015 and 14001 : 2015  standards, relating to objectives; it will be key for any business to monitor and measure clear Health & Safety Objectives going forward.  This can include Aim4Zero (accidents), KPIs, etc.

It is also important that the business has a Legal Register, identifying any legislation that is applicable to them, and that they have carried out a review to see how that legislation impacts on their business. Thy should also show how they intend to monitor their compliance against that legislation, i.e. COSHH requires a COSHH Register and COSHH Assessments, but they will also need to provide evidence of staff training in requirements and use of hazardous products, to comply with the guidelines.

What are the benefits of these changes?

This new standard is said to be a major advance, compared with OHSAS 18001, which served as a basis for the work. The overall aim for ISO 45001 is to place employees and their representatives at the core of the OH&S management system.

The benefits of the changes we are seeing include:

  • Improved suitability for integration with ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management).
  • A more strategic approach to Health and Safety Management.
  • More emphasis on the “Context of the organisation”, including understanding the internal and external drivers and assessing the needs of interested parties.
  • More involvement of top management, leading to greater commitment from all.
  • Risk Management will now be even more important, reducing risks and subsequent hazards before they happen.
  • Legal requirements to be made clearer, to aid improved compliance.
  • Greater emphasis on the management of change, ensuring that changes are implemented as smoothly and successfully as possible.
  • The process of managing outsourcing, contractors and procurement arrangements will be made more explicit, leading to reduced risks and greater efficiency.

ISO 45001 is designed to work for all organisations, regardless of size or industry, wishing to improve worker protection. It is not only based on OHSAS 18001, but it also takes into account other International Standards in this area including the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH Guidelines, various national standards and the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions.


When can we expect to see this new standard?

We are expecting the final publication to be issued in early 2017, with the final Draft International Standard (FDIS) being made available mid-2016.

If you would like to protect your staff by putting a structured and formalised system in place, to help you manage your Health and Safety risks, contact QMS today at [email protected] or 0333 344 3646.