Health, Safety & Environment Consultants

What’s Changed from ISO 18001 to ISO 45001


This week saw the release of the much anticipated new standard for Health and Safety Management Systems, ISO 45001, which replaces ISO 18001. Some of the changes to the new standard relate to the introduction of the ISO high level structure, common to all ISO standards, and some are specific to health and safety.

As many will already know, it is key for all management systems to have strong leadership buy-in, and to be driven from the top. ISO 45001 recognises this and puts requirements on organisations to demonstrate leadership commitment and consultation with workers. The aim of this is to empower employees to make safety a value.

The common approach of plan-do-check-act has been applied to ISO 45001, which will be familiar to those who also work with ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards, making it easier and possible to avoid duplication and have integrated management systems.

ISO 45001 places more emphasis on communication with the workforce, and proving that health and safety information such as policies, risks, hazards, accident investigations and procedures, have been effectively communicated to the workforce. It emphasises the message that it is not good enough to have documentation in place, it must also be communicated and understood by the workforce. This makes implementation of the health and safety management system, key under the requirements of the new standard.

Communication is also highlighted as a key requirement for working with contractors, along with the need to ensure adequate controls are in place to manage the risk of contractors.

Evaluation the performance of health and safety management system has been strengthened within ISO 45001. The requirements are now clear that the performance and monitoring results must be documented. Not only that but also workers are expected to know the organisation's current compliance status, which again emphasises the requirements for greater communication.

These changes present exciting opportunities for businesses to streamline their ISO management systems, reducing duplication and providing efficiencies, as well as strengthening business performance through having more robust health and safety management.

The first step in preparing your ISO 18001 certified system for ISO 45001 is to complete a gap analysis that looks at each of the above areas and identifies where changes are needed. If this is something you need help with, contact us today to find out how we can help you: or 01843 6399711.

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