What ISO 45001 Does Not Cover

Line of yellow HVSA protective suits hung up to show what ISO 45001 does not cover for OH&S management systems.

After a highly anticipated development process, the new international standard ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use has been published. As with any new release, it is crucial that users comprehend the document’s and applicability.

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001:2018 details the framework for adopting, implementing, managing, and improving an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system for managing OH&S risks and opportunities. Its success is dependent on the involvement of top leadership, clear communication, allocation of necessary resources, integration of OH&S management system into the organization’s policies, and continual performance evaluation for improvement.

An OH&S management system established by ISO 45001:2018 should help to promote and protect the physical and mental health of workers, a crucial concern considering that millions die of workplace illness or injury each year. The standard framework can be adopted easily by organizations with existing OH&S management systems or practices, as well as those who make use of other ISO management system standards.

What ISN’T Covered by ISO 45001:2018?

By its nature, ISO 45001:2018 is nonprescriptive, so it does not express specific criteria for OH&S performance. In fact, an occupational health and management system should be shaped to meet an organization’s specific needs in preventing injury and ill health. As such, smaller organizations with fewer risks may only need to implement a smaller system, while larger companies may be in need of a more sophisticated system to address their expansive range of risks.

Similarly, ISO 45001:2018 explicitly does not address product safety, property damage, or environmental impacts. In accordance with the OH&S management system outlined in the international standard, an organization does not have to take into account these factors unless they present a risk to its workers.

As an international voluntary consensus standard, ISO 45001:2018 is not intended to be a legally binding document. Instead, it should serve as a management tool for voluntary use by organizations from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the largest organizations who aim to minimize or eliminate the risk of harm.

Despite this, by establishing systematic processes that consider the organization’s context, compliance with ISO 45001:2018 can encourage organizations to take into account legal and other requirements when assessing their risk and opportunities.

ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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