Comment on the draft international standard for occupational health and safety

12 February 2016

BSI, the business standards company, 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 OHSAS 18001. It is available now for comment at the following link:, until April 15.

Occupational health and safety continues to be a priority across the world with the International Labour Organization (ILO) citing 6,300 people dying every day as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases. This equates to estimated losses of 4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product each year.

Although OHSAS 18001 is widely used both in the UK and internationally it is not a full international standard. By working with a far wider range of countries and also the 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 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.

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.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI said: “Occupational health and safety is a serious matter for all businesses worldwide, regardless of their size or sector. BSI is very proud to be involved with developing a clear framework for businesses wishing to maintain or improve safety within their workplaces. It was important to us that ISO 45001 should work in alignment with any other management system standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, which may already be in use. Therefore the common text and structure in which it is written will ensure these management system standards are broadly aligned to each other.”

Some of the benefits of ISO 45001 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.

Click here to read more on ISO 45001.