You may have heard that this international standard has been due for a while. Well now it’s here: ISO 45001.

This blog post will highlight the most important things you need to know about ISO 45001, what it is, why it’s important, the main differences to OHSAS 18001, the timescale you have to transition to the new standard, and what it means to you as a business owner or decision-maker.

ISO 45001 why is it so important

Why has ISO 45001 been introduced?

To show why this standard has been introduced, here are some compelling statistics:

UK statistics from the HSE’s 2016/17 report showed that there were:

  • 137 workers killed at work, with many more harmed by other injuries or ill health.

That may sound pretty bad, but in comparison, global figures (based on the International Labour Organization statistics Jan 2016) show that:

  • 4 workers die every minute;
  • Over 600 workers have an accident every minute;
  • 2.3 million deaths per year (that’s over 5,700 deaths per day!);
  • Totalling more than 317 million accidents per year.

To put that into perspective, there are over 2 million workers killed each year worldwide. That’s over 15,000 times more  deaths than in the UK. In more relatable terms, it would take approximately 34 minutes for the UK’s total number of fatalities to be matched worldwide.

Sobering, isn’t it?

Statistics like these are one of the primary reasons for The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) having worked so hard over recent years to ensure that their standards can be integrated together.

What is ISO 45001?

To summarise a lengthy explanation, what follows is ISO 45001 in a nutshell.

It is the world’s first occupational health and safety standard launched to cover all countries. For those in the United Kingdom, ISO 45001 follows on from OHSAS 18001 as the standard to achieve.

ISO 45001 has been launched to assist organisations to:

  • Provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and others;
  • Prevent deaths, work-related injury and ill-health;
  • Provide a framework to manage risk;
  • Increase employee involvement in health and safety;
  • Continually improving OHS performance.

The new ISO 45001 is one of many standards that is based upon ISO’s shared High Level Structure, also known as Annex SL.

Annex SL: why are common clauses important for ISO 45001?

While it’s true that OHSAS 18001 has been connected to and shared some of its core elements with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, ISO 45001 moves the integration further than before.

iso 45001 the clauses

Annex SL was created to enable common clauses to be shared across multiple ISO standards, such as in the latest versions of:

  • ISO 45001 (Health & Safety)
  • ISO 9001 (Quality)
  • ISO 14001 (Environment)
  • ISO 27001 (Information Security)
  • ISO 30301 (Management systems for records)

Here are the shared top level clauses of the new High Level Structure:

  • Clause 1 – Scope
  • Clause 2 – Normative references
  • Clause 3 – Terms and definitions
  • Clause 4 – Context of the organization
  • Clause 5 – Leadership
  • Clause 6 – Planning
  • Clause 7 – Support
  • Clause 8 – Operation
  • Clause 9 – Performance evaluation
  • Clause 10 – Improvement

We’ll go into a little more detail on these below. Before that, ISO has also worked on the definitions included in their standards.

Once again, they have strived to keep things simple for those wanting to implement more than one of their standards. To do that, these example definitions are the same – organization, interested party, policy, objective and competence.

You can visit the ISO at for more information on any of their standards.

How does changing to ISO 45001 help you?

If you’ve read this far then hopefully we will have answered some of your questions regarding this new standard. Of course, there are the typical moral, legal and financial reasons we could talk about too.

For those already working with common standards like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Implementing ISO 45001 for your health and safety management system has gotten a little easier. This is all down to sharing the common definitions and principles of the High Level Structure.

ISO 45001 provides extra emphasis on employee (worker) involvement in your health and safety management while also requiring the leaders at the top to actually be actively involved in and leading health & safety management.

The standard has also introduced new defined requirements as follows:

  • Clause 4.1 – Understanding your organization and its context (identify internal & external factors, significant risks & opportunities and culture drivers);
  • Clause 4.2 – Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties (cover all persons that could affect or be affected by your activities);
  • Clause 8.1 – Hierarchy of controls (are these used correctly);
  • Clause 8.2 – Management of change (ensuring health & safety management is considered when changes happen);
  • Clause 8.3 – Outsourcing (factoring in health & safety management when outsourcing);
  • Clause 8.4 – Procurement (health & safety controls considered when purchasing goods and materials);
  • Clause 8.5 – Contractors (prescribed management of contractor activities)

Now you have a brief explanation of the major changes and a few of the benefits, what’s next?

How long do you have to transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001?

If you are already certified to OHSAS 18001, the good news is that you should already have a great basis to transition to ISO 45001.

Now that the new standard has been published, it means that you will have the next 3 years to go through your transition and become accredited to ISO 45001.

iso 45001 transition timescale

Need help with ISO 45001?

We appreciate that there will be a lot of information to take in and we’ve only provided a brief introduction to ISO 45001 in this post.

If you would like further information or help with ISO 45001, get in touch today by phone on 01926 623 133 or email