The Migration From OHSAS 18001 To ISO 45001


ISO 45001 is the international Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) standard replacing OHSAS 18001. This new standard was published this month and has been “developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, and follows other generic management system approaches such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001”. Organizations are required to comply within a timescale of three years, as the existing standard (OHSAS 18001) is soon to become invalid.

What are the standards’ key differences?

Proactivity vs. Reactivity:

OHSAS 18001 policy focused on hazard control with a more reactive approach, whereas ISO 45001 aims to detect and mitigate risks very early.

Documented Information vs. Documents and Records:

IS0 45001 introduces a requirement which permits the use of electronic information, instead of containing it in a formal document system.

More Participation from Senior Management:                                                                                                       ISO 45001 places more focus on the decision makers (and other workers), rather than only involving the safety management personnel in the OHS strategic planning and decision making process


What are the benefits of ISO 45001 in an organization?

  • Risk planning not only includes the organizational context but the external environment as well.
  • A raise in profits is expected when ISO 45001 is being fully implemented, due to a decrease in lost and non-productive time as a result of accident and incident. Organizations will also see a reduction in the overall costs of incidents and insurance premiums.
  • Adopting ISO 45001 will also mean that an organization is meeting its legal and regulatory requirements.

Overall, the transition will not be too challenging, as the aim of the two standards is similar to each other; both OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 seek to eliminate unacceptable risks in the organization’s activities and to ensure that the health and safety of personnel is prioritized.