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New ISO 45001 standard due in March

30 January 2018

The finished ISO 45001 international standard for occupational safety and health management systems will be published in March, it has been announced.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) selected the date after national standards bodies (NSBs) voted in a ballot that ended on 25th January to endorse the third and final version of the text.

The development process – the first draft was published in July 2014 – has involved a series of meetings, numerous iterations and hundreds of hours of deliberations among an international group of safety and health experts. These include Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Jones said: “It is great news that ISO 45001 has gained approval, with an overwhelming 93 per cent voting in favour of publication. IOSH understands from the ISO Secretariat that it could now be published as early as 8 March."

The standard follows the generic management system structure used for ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. It was based initially on OHSAS 18001, but also takes account of other influential documents, such as the International Labour Organization's ILO-OSH Guidelines and various national occupational safety and health management system standards.

It will be the first global standard of its kind, says ISO, giving organisations ‘a universally accepted framework for improving employee health and safety, reducing workplace risks and creating healthier, safer working conditions’.

Organisations that are certified to OHSAS 18001 will have three years to migrate to the new standard, according to the UK standards body BSI Group.   

David Smith, Chair of ISO PC 283, said alignment of ISO 45001 to the suite of ISO management system standards would come as a welcome addition.

He said: “We now have an international standard for occupational health and safety, aligned with other business standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO/IEC 27001, that helps organisations manage this key risk as part of their business processes.

“ISO 45001 is a significant improvement on OHSAS 18001. Effective application of ISO 45001 will reduce the risk of harm in the workplace.”

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