The Best Way to Transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001

31st July 2018

The new international standard for occupational health and safety – the first new global standard of its kind – ISO 45001 – was launched in March 2018.  It has been designed to give organisations much greater scope to create a more bespoke OHS management system that suits their individual work practices and addresses specific risks to their business.  The new standard will correspond with the requirements of ISO 9001: 2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

The new standard has an emphasis on workplace processes rather than binding procedures and allows organisations the flexibility to integrate the OHS management system into their internal culture.

The main changes that organisations will experience when transitioning from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 are: the need to actively engage employees to participate in the process; a move away from focusing on the negative impact of health and safety breaches, towards a more positive program of the benefits of health and safety management system (the purpose of which is to bring improved workplace morale and productivity) and, the flexibility for different organisations to implement different programs that address their own needs and risks – this will still need to be implemented in a structured way.

The S2 Partnership can support clients in managing health and safety compliance and achieving certification for health and safety management.  This may include:

  • Carrying out a gap analysis of existing management systems to identify what measures will need to be taken to transfer to the new standard;
  • Assisting in updating policies to be in line with ISO 45001 standards;
  • Carrying out independent audits of management systems, identifying potential non-conformities prior to a certification audit in line with the requirements of ISO 45001;
  • Assisting clients in achieving certification from scratch, not just those transitioning from OHSAS 18001;
  • Assisting with integrating management systems into an organisation, aligning with ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001;
  • If required, integrating property risk management software – RiskWise – to underpin a client’s health and safety management system.

Migration to ISO 45001 needs to have taken effect by March 2021, when OHSAS 18001 will no longer be valid.

The new standard is intended to bring about a general culture change and increased competence in occupational health and safety across organisations.   It will also help to ensure legal compliance within an organisation and can reduce operating costs, by reducing downtime due to incidents and absence due to ill health. To find out more about how S2 can help, please contact us.