Home Certification Standards ISO 45001

ISO 45001 Frequently Asked Questions

Organizations that are currently registered to OHSAS 18001 will have until September 2021 to migrate to the ISO 45001 standard. Here are the answers to some ISO 45001 common questions to help you as you begin to explore the differences between these two standards for occupational health and safety.

What Is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001:2018 is the international ISO standard for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) that has replaced OHSAS 18001. Created by a committee of experts in health and safety management, ISO 45001 was designed with the strengths and weaknesses of many other occupational health and safety standards in mind. Although ISO 45001 has many similarities to its predecessor, it is distinct from OHSAS 18001.

The goal of ISO 45001 is to help businesses protect workers and guests from work-related accidents and diseases. The standard provides guidance that senior management can use to create a safe working environment, control factors that cause illness and injury, preserve workers' physical and mental well-being and reduce business risk.

Why Is ISO 45001 Important?

Workplace safety remains a serious concern for employees and employers alike. According to the International Organization for Standardization, 153 people experience workplace injuries every 15 seconds. In serious cases, unsafe working conditions can even lead to death.

ISO 45001 is important because it aims to prevent workplace accidents, illnesses and fatalities. The committee responsible for writing ISO 45001 identified gaps in OHSAS 18001 and aimed to address them in the new standard. ISO 45001 will also work to standardize occupational health and safety management across borders, which has been difficult with the multiple versions of OHSAS in place internationally.

What Are The Benefits Of ISO 45001 Certification?

ISO 45001 builds and expands on the foundation of OHSAS 18001 and is designed to integrate more easily with other revised ISO management standards such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. When effectively implemented, ISO 45001 will integrate with operations naturally. ISO 45001 is flexible and capable of meeting the needs of the business whilst protecting workers and delivering improvement.

In addition to improved worker safety and reduced risk, benefits of ISO certification include:

  • Improved relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders
  • Reduced downtime and lower operating costs
  • Better reputation and consumer trust
  • Potential tax benefits

Who Should Get ISO 45001 Certification?

ISO 45001 certification is a good idea for any business that needs to mitigate safety risks and demonstrate a verifiable dedication to preventing work-related illnesses, injuries and deaths. This includes both small and large businesses and businesses in a variety of industries. Some examples of industries that should consider ISO 45001 certification include automotive, construction and healthcare. You should also consider ISO 45001 certification if you currently hold OHSAS 18001 certification.

At NQA, we provide ISO certification for businesses in a wide range of industries and sectors.

How Can You Earn ISO 45001 Certification?

To get ISO 45001 certification, your organization will need to implement the standard and complete the auditing and certification process with an accredited third-party certification body like NQA. The initial certification process involves a two-stage audit, and maintaining certification requires yearly surveillance audits and recertification every three years.

If you're transitioning to ISO 45001 from OHSAS 18001, the process may look slightly different and must be completed by the March 2021 deadline.

How Much Does ISO 45001 Certification Cost?

The cost of ISO certification depends on a range of factors — audit duration, organization size, scope of risk, current level of compliance and more. To get an accurate idea of direct certification costs, request a quote from your third-party certification body. At NQA, we offer competitive rates and never use hidden fees.

How Much Notice Do You Need To Give NQA To Change A Standard OHSAS 18001 Surveillance Into A Transition Audit?

Please give as much notice as possible — not only to allow NQA to make arrangements but for clients to undertake the mandatory GAP analysis and implement the revisions and changes that may be necessary prior to the NQA migration assessment. The system should be mature enough to demonstrate it is effectively implemented and achieving the required outcomes at the point of assessment.

How Did ISO 45001 Change The Definition Of "Worker?"

In ISO 45001, "worker" is an all-inclusive phrase that includes workers of all levels within the organization as well as those who are not directly employed, such as contractors and outsourced service/product suppliers. As all organizations are unique, it's important to consider this change and respond as appropriate for the system and audit.

How Should You Determine Risks And Opportunities When Implementing ISO 45001?

When the organization understands the needs and expectations of interested parties and strategic corporate requirements, it can then use the knowledge to assess any risks and opportunities that may be present and then take action to address them.

Does ISO 45001 Replace The Need For Other Certification?

No, ISO 45001 does not replace the need for other certifications such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. ISO 45001 is designed for OHS systems, and although they follow the same system structure, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 are focused on different disciplines — Environment and Quality.

What Is The Difference Between Improvement and Continuous Improvement In ISO 45001?

The phrase used in the standard is continual improvement, which means stepped improvement over time, not continuous. A range of changes can contribute towards improvement, including training, revisions to process, achievement of objectives and performance goals.

Is ISO 45001 Just A Watered-Down Version of OHSAS 18001?

No. ISO 45001 uses an established structure based on an effective management model. It is designed to be used as part of a business management system. ISO 45001 emphasizes workforce participation, expands focus on worker health and safety programs and implements other changes.

Is There A Minimum Requirement For What Legislation Registers and  Aspects and Impacts Registers Must Contain?

There is no minimum requirement for what these registers must contain. The contents are based on the business activity, geographical location and local/national enforcement requirements. Each organization is unique. If you have questions about what you should include, please feel free to contact us.

What Are The New Requirements In ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 does come with new and updated requirements. This is an important output of Clause 4.2, interested parties and the reason for an effective evaluation of compliance process It would be prudent to have robust process(s) in place which minds compliance obligations associated with identified interested parties within your context. For example: a new document, IAF MD22, was released in January of 2018. This document directly affects your certification body and may likely affect your organization too. Make sure that your communication process includes staying current with the compliance/obligation needs and expectations of your certification body.

If You Meet The Requirements of ISO 45001, Do You Also Meet The Requirements of OHSAS 18001?

ISO 45001 expands and builds on the foundations of OHSAS 18001. Therefore meeting the requirements of 45001 are overall in place, but the way 18001 is written is different and requires documented procedures and other subtle changes. So, you may not automatically meet the requirements of both standards.

Can I Still Receive OHSAS 18001 Now That ISO 45001 Has Been Released?

Although it is possible to be accredited to OHSAS 18001 up to September 2021, you can longer apply for the certification. NQA would advise looking at the migration timeline for key milestone dates that may help with making the decision, specifically with regards to the ultimate migration that will be required to maintain certification.

Should You Keep Your Management Systems Separate?

It all depends on client needs, available resources and objectives. ISO 45001 adopted the annex SL framework and therefore is designed to efficiently integrate with other management systems by reducing redundancies.

Will The Client Application Form Be Issued To The Auditor When The Work Order Is Issued For Stage 2?

A stage two assessment to ISO 45001 will not need further applications as it will already be against the requirements of ISO 45001. If you have questions about our process, please contact NQA online today.

How Can You Address Local Risks Like Earthquakes and Tornadoes Within the Emergency Plan?

If these are requirements of enforcement agencies or interested parties, then they will need to be considered and planned for. However, these plans may also be part of other emergency considerations and responses in place, such as business continuity plans and responses.