19 January 2022

Powerful Health & Safety Standard

ISO 45001 – A Powerful Health & Safety Standard

Every day, thousands of employees are killed due to work related activities. These deaths are preventable.  The purpose of ISO 45001 is to help organizations put systems, practices and controls in place to improve their health and safety performance by providing safe and healthy workplaces, preventing work related accidents, ill health and injury.

SO What Is ISO 45001?

This standard is the world’s first international single source reference point for managing health and safety at work. ISO 45001 specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system and gives guidance for its use to enable organizations to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health. This standard provides a clear framework for all organizations wishing to improve their OH&S performance. The ISO 45001 standard can be applied to any organisation regardless of its size and business type. The standard enables an organisation to integrate other aspects of its health and safety system such as employee participation, consultation and wellbeing.

The standard compels the top management of an organization to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees, contractors and visitors. In order for this task to be achieved, it is crucial to control all factors that might result in illness and injury, by mitigating adverse effects on the physical, mental and cognitive condition of a employee, contractor or visitor.

How Will ISO 45001 Be Used By Organizations?

This standard enables and organisation to improve its OH&S performance by:

  • Creating and implementing an OH&S policy and OH&S objectives.
  • Identifying and reviewing the hazards and OH&S risks associated with its operational activities. Develop a program to eliminate the risks or put controls in place to minimize their potential adverse effects.
  • Develop and implement operational process controls to manage the OH&S risks and the organizations legal requirements.
  • Ensuring employees take an active role in the day to day management of the OH&S system. The standard mandates that employees must be consulted with and participate in various parts of the ISO 45001 standard. In the context of this standard consultation means seeking views before making a decision and participation means involvement in decision making.
  • Develop repeatable systematic processes that consider the business context and take into account organizational risk and opportunities.
  • Assisting and organisation  to fulfil its legal requirements and other requirement
  • Development and implementing and employee awareness program of the organisation health and safety risks.
  • Carrying out monitoring activities of the performance of the OH&S program. Reviewing and evaluating the data and implementing actions to improve the performance.

For further details regarding the occupational health and safety implementation process are available:

ISO 45001:2018 – Consulting for your business

Leadership and commitment

In order to implement a successful ISO 45001 OH&S system, top management must demonstrate leadership and commitment regarding the implementation and management of the standard. Key top management requirements include:

  • Taking overall responsibility and accountability for the prevention of work-related injury and ill health.
  • Providing safe and healthy workplaces and activities.
  • Ensuring that the OH&S policy and related OH&S objectives are established and achieved.
  • Ensuring that the OH&S policy and related OH&S objectives are compatible  with the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Ensuring that requirements of the OH&S management system are integrated into the  business processes.
  • Providing the resources needed to establish, implement, maintain and improve the OH&S management system are available.
  • Communicating the importance of effective OH&S management and of conforming to the OH&S requirements.
  • Ensuring that the OH&S management system achieves its intended outcomes and is communicated throughout the organisation.
  • Providing leadership, direction and support regarding the activities of the OH&S system.
  • Promoting continual improvement of the OH&S system.
  • Supporting other relevant management roles to demonstrate their leadership as it applies to their areas of responsibility.
  • Developing, leading and promoting a culture in the organization that supports the intended outcomes of the OH&S management system.
  • Protecting workers from reprisals when reporting incidents, hazards, risks and opportunities.
  • Ensuring the organization establishes and implements processes for consultation and participation of workers.
  • Supporting the establishment and functioning of health and safety committees.

What are the success factors

The implementation of an ISO 45001 OH&S management system is a strategic and operational decision for the top management of an organization. The success of the OH&S management system depends on leadership, commitment and participation from all levels and functions of the organization. Demonstration of successful implementation of this standard can be used by an organization to give assurance to employees and other interested parties that an effective OH&S management system is in place.

The implementation and maintenance of an OH&S management system, its effectiveness and its ability to achieve its intended outcomes are dependent on a number of key factors, which can include:

  • Top management leadership, commitment, responsibilities and accountability;
  • Communication regarding all aspects of the OH&S system.
  • Consultation and participation of employees.
  • Effective processes for identifying hazards, controlling OH&S risks and taking advantage of OH&S opportunities.
  • Continual performance evaluation and monitoring of the OH&S management system to improve OH&S performance.
  • Integration of the OH&S management system into the organization’s business processes.
  • Developing OH&S objectives that align with the OH&S policy and take into account the organization’s hazards, OH&S risks and OH&S opportunities.
  • Organizational compliance with its legal requirements and other requirements.

Further auditing details are available here:

ISO 45001:2018 – Auditing Services.

Benefits of ISO 45001:2018

  • Provides a platform for improved performance and trust across the organisation as employees are empowered to take responsibility for some elements of the management system
  • Company-wide engagement is one of the key benefits of ISO 45001
  • Eliminating hazards and minimizing OH&S risks by taking effective preventive and proactive measures.
  • Implementing a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Preventing work-related injury and ill health of its employees
  • Reduces downtime, overall costs of incidents at the workplace and the number of insurance premiums claimed
  •  It will enhance your reputation as a responsible employer and demonstrate compliance with health and safety legislation.
  • Continually improving the organizations OH&S performance.
  • Managing Occupational Health and Safety risks and opportunities.

Further benefits and the associated ISO implementation process can be reviewed here.

ISO 45001  More Information

Paul McDonell