Draft of international standard for occupational safety and health open for comment

System intended to replace OHSAS 18001

Posted February 29, 2016

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published the draft international standard (DIS) of ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements. This is an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system standard written with the ultimate aim of replacing Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001.

It is available now for comment on the BSI website, until April 15.

Although OHSAS 18001 is widely used both in the UK and internationally it is not a full international standard. BSI says by working with a far wider range of countries and also the International Labour Organization (ILO), it is hoped that greater harmony will be achieved globally allowing further confidence down the supply chain and ultimately saving lives.

The international committee which developed ISO 45001 includes experts from over 50 countries and 20 liaison bodies, all with knowledge and practical experience of occupational health and safety issues and the challenges faced. The new standard is based on the core structure and common text developed by the ISO for all of its management system standards (MSS), taking into account the requirements of the current OHSAS 18001, other national standards (including those from the US, China, and Canada) and the ILO instruments — OH&S guidelines adopted by hundreds of countries across the world.

According to BSI, ISO 45001 will help provide a single, clear framework for organizations of all types and sizes who wish to improve their OH&S performance and protect those working on their behalf or who may be affected by the organization’s activities. This includes any organization beyond that of sole trader — and those organizations working with multiple contractors, multiple sites, volunteers, or temporary staff, etc.

BSI outlines benefits of ISO 45001 which include:

  • A single internationally-agreed standard suitable for all organizations worldwide.
  • Alignment with other key management system standards.
  • Less prescriptive requirements which direct organizations to design a management system uniquely suited to each organization’s occupational health and safety needs.

ISO 45001 has been developed using a collaborative, consensus-based approach taking into account the views of large and small organizations, government bodies, trades unions, and worker representative organizations.

Following the three month ballot, and a comments resolution period, publication of the final standard is anticipated towards the end of 2016.


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