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Moving from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001:2017

The structure
As expected, ISO 45001 will adopt a new high-level structure that is common to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, and so on. This means that it has new clauses such as Context of the organization, Leadership and workers participation, planning, and other clauses that you can already find in the other standards. Also, the fact that the common requirements of different standards have the same clause numbers, and the same structure and method, makes integration of multiple management systems much easier.

The DIS version of the new standard has 10 clauses and 10 annexes, where each annex provides additional information for one of the clauses of the standard. I like this approach, and all through this new standard I have a feeling that they are trying to avoid the ambiguities that emerged after publishing the new ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

The content
Context of the organization is a new concept compared to OHSAS 18001. The organization will have to consider all internal and external issues relevant to its OH&S Management System. This clause emphasizes the workers and interested parties and their needs and expectations.

Leadership and worker participation is the title of clause 5, as opposed to the other standard where it is only Leadership. But, this is not the only new thing compared to OHSAS 18001. Besides the OH&S Policy and roles and responsibilities, clause 5 includes participation and consultation. Compared to OHSAS 18001, it elaborates in greater detail on what this process should look like, and by adding it to the leadership section it emphasizes the responsibility of top management for the process.

Planning now includes addressing risks and opportunities regarding the OH&S Management System. Compared to OHSAS 18001, the requirements for hazard identification are more defined, with a proactive approach to hazard identification. When it comes to risks and opportunities, there are separate sub clauses that provide more details on what risks and opportunities need to be addressed, and it clears the ambiguities arising from the same clause in ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. This clause also covers identification of legal requirements and planning actions to address all above-mentioned issues.

Support covers all the resources needed for an effective OH&S Management System. This approach is better than the one in OHSAS 18001, because all resources are under the same clause. There are no significant new requirements in this part, except having documented information instead of documents and records, which is also a new element coming with ISO DIS 45001.

Operation is the clause that comprises operational controls and emergency preparedness and response. Besides these two sub clauses, there are also some new ones regarding outsourced processes, procurement and contractors. Because outsourcing is a global trend, these new requirements seem reasonable.

Performance evaluation includes monitoring and measuring of OH&S performance, evaluation of compliance obligations, internal audit, and management review, and covers most of clause 4.5 of OHSAS 18001.

Improvement is the title of the last clause of the standard. Incidents are now a part of the same sub clause as nonconformities and corrective actions, which make sense because they should be dealt with in the same way as nonconformities. The next sub clause is Continual improvement, and there are some changes in terms of structure of the sub clause: it is divided into two parts, with the first one defining the objectives of the continual improvement, while the second part defines the process.

What does ISO 45001 bring to the table?
We have to keep in mind that this is only a draft version of the standard, and it will probably undergo many changes before the official text of the standard is published. However, it helps us realize what to expect and how to prepare for the new standard. The focus on risks and opportunities are far more elaborated than in ISO14001 and ISO9001 and this should make it clearer for people to understand what is expected from them. The new standard draft facilitates integration with other standards and decreases the requirements for documentation – and these are things that everyone welcomes.