The FDIS ballot result has been announced in favour for the publication of ISO 45001. The standard will be released before the end of Q1 2018.

ISO 45001:2018 will replace OHSAS 18001:2007 as the globally recognised occupational health and safety management system certification standard.

ISO 45001:2018 should be a key driver for any organization managing occupational health and safety in the workplace. The standard will set out key requirements form managing occupational health and safety and it can be a tool for facilitating improvement in overall health and safety performance. It encourages more internal and external stakeholder focus as part of the adoption of a risk-based approach to health and safety management.

The standard also emphasizes the importance of adopting an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) as a strategic decision for an organization. In addition to renaming and repositioning some OHSMS activities, other significant new requirements have been introduced.

Organizational Context

The ‘context’ of an organization (or its ‘business environment’) refers to the combination of internal and external factors and conditions that can affect its approach to health and safety management.

The intent of ISO 45001 is to provide an organization 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 Health & Safety responsibilities towards its workers.

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


Top management are now required to demonstrate a greater direct involvement in the organization’s OHSMS through direct participation, taking OHS performance into account in strategic planning. The absence of the need for a specific ‘Management Representative’ from ISO 45001:2018 is an attempt to ensure that ‘ownership’ of an organization’s management system is not simply focused on one individual. There is now a focus on ‘leadership’ rather than just management of the OHSMS.

Risks and Opportunities

A vital part of the planning and implementation of an OHSMS is the requirement to identify the risks and opportunities that can potentially impact its operation and performance and the corresponding ‘proportionate’ actions to address them.

An organization must identify the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed to ensure that the OHSMS can achieve its intended outcomes.

Participation and Consultation

The standard requires the organization’s top management to actively consult and participate with workers and their representatives, as these are key factors in OH&S 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 organization can make a decision.

The OH&S management system depends on worker participation, enabling workers to contribute to decision making regarding OH&S performance and provide feedback on proposed changes.

The organization 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.

Documented Information

The terms ‘documented procedure’ and ‘record’ used in OHSAS 18001:2007 have both been replaced throughout ISO 45001:2018 by the term ‘documented information’. This is defined as information that needs to be controlled and maintained by an organization. However, it is up to each organization to determine the level and type of documentation necessary to control its OHSMS.


The standard requires an organization 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 organization, supplier and contractor risk must be managed effectively.

Structure and Terminology

ISO 45001:2018 adopts the top-level structure specified in Annex SL, which is now the required framework for all new and revised ISO Standards. This will align ISO 45001 with other management system standards.

It is important to note that for those organizations that already have accredited OHSAS 18001:2007 certification, there will be no requirement to change their existing document structure, or the terminology they use, to mirror that specified in ISO 45001:2018.

ISO 45001:2018 Migration

Organizations which already hold accredited certification to OHSAS 18001:2007 will have three years from formal publication of ISO 45001:2018 to migrate to this new standard. Based on the current publication schedule, this transition period will end in March 2021.

Further information on ISO 45001:2018 will be issued by SGS in the future.

For more information contact:

Carl Deaves
UK Technical & Accreditation Manager / Global Product Manager – OHSMS 
t: +44 (0)151 350 6756

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.

Updated: February 15, 2018