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ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organisational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard.

An Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) is a fundamental part of an organisation's risk management strategy. Implementing an OHSMS enables an organisation to:

  • Protect its workforce and others under its control 
  • Comply with legal requirements 
  • Facilitate continual improvement

ISO 45001 is the new international standard for an OHSMS. While it is similar to OHSAS 18001, the new ISO 45001 standard adopts the Annex SL top-level framework of all new and revised ISO management system standards.

ISO 45001 can be aligned with other management systems standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015. ISO 45001 was published in March 2018.

Below are key requirements and differences from OHSAS 18001.

ISO 45001 Standard – Key Areas and Organisation Context

ISO 45001 places a strong focus on an organisation’s context. It requires the organisation to consider what stakeholders expect from it in terms of occupational health and safety management. The organisation must determine which interested parties are relevant to its OHSMS and also determine the relevant requirements of those interested parties.

The intent of ISO 45001 is to provide an organisation with a high-level understanding of the important issues that can affect it either positively or negatively and how it manages its occupational health and safety responsibilities towards its workers.

Issues of interest are those that affect the organisation’s ability to achieve its intended outcomes. These include the objectives it has set for its OHSMS, such as meeting its OHS policy commitments.

OHS Leadership

Top management must now demonstrate its involvement and engagement with the OHSMS through direct participation, taking OHS performance into account in strategic planning.

Top management must also contribute to the effectiveness of the OHSMS by playing an active role in directing, supporting and communicating with workers, and promoting and leading organisational OHSMS culture.

This new standard clearly defines the requirements for top management responsibility and accountability regarding occupational health and safety management. This is to ensure that ultimate responsibility cannot be delegated to health and safety or other managers within an organisation.

Participation and Consultation

The standard requires the organisation’s top management to encourage consultation with, and participation from workers and their representatives, as these are key factors in OHS Management.

Consultation implies two-way communication – dialogue and exchanges – and involves the timely provision of the information that workers and their representatives require before the organisation can make a decision.

The OHS management system depends on worker participation, which enables workers to contribute to decision making regarding OHS performance and provide feedback on proposed changes.

The organisation must encourage workers at all levels to report hazardous situations, so that preventive measures can be put in place and corrective action taken. Workers must also be able to report and suggest areas of improvement without fearing dismissal, disciplinary action or similar reprisals.

Risk-Based Approach to the OHSMS

Closely aligned with the focus on organisational context is the requirement to adopt a risk-based approach when developing and implementing an OHSMS. An organisation must identify the risks and opportunities that it must address to ensure that the OHSMS can achieve its intended outcomes. 

These risks and opportunities include those relevant to, or determined by its organisational context. The organisation must plan actions that address these risks and opportunities, implement them into its OHSMS processes and evaluate the effectiveness of these actions.


The standard requires an organisation to ensure that outsourced processes affecting its OHSMS are defined and controlled. When outsourced products and/or services supplied are under the control of the organisation, supplier and contractor risk must be managed effectively.

Documented Information

The term "documented information" is used instead of "documents and records", which was present in OHSAS 18001. Evidence from processed information not held in a formal document system, such as electronic information held on smart phones and tablets, is now accepted.

Migrating from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001

If your organisation currently holds accredited OHSAS 18001 certification, you have three years from the formal publication of the new standard (published in March 2018) in which to migrate to the new ISO 45001 standard.


A copy of the ISO 45001:2018 standard is now available and can be purchased from the ISO Store.

How can SGS help?

We can provide awareness training to help you to understand the requirements of ISO 45001, Annex SL, Risk Based Thinking and Empowering Leadership. On request, we can provide a gap analysis which can be used to highlight the changes that will need to be made for migration from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 certification.

Contact us to learn more about ISO 45001 migration.