Plan-Do-Check-Act in ISO 45001:2018

An auditor in a factory trying to plan, do, check, and act, with the PCDA cycle found in ISO 45001

Through ISO 45001, the PCDA cycle is key for the effectiveness of an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system.

ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use is an international standard that aims to provide organizations, regardless of size, the framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. This type of system fulfills the responsibility for any organization to assure the health and safety of its workers.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 2.78 million people die each year from work-related accidents or diseases. An OH&S management system established under the guidance of ISO 45001:2018 should help enable organizations to foster a safe and effective workplace.

ISO 45001:2018 helps organizations manage risks related to occupational health and safety (OH&S risks), ultimately preventing injury and ill health. The success of any OH&S management system is dependent on several key factors, such as the active role played by top management and clear communication throughout all levels of the organization.

An OH&S management system is also dependent on its processes. Therefore, it is integral to identify attainable OH&S processes to meet OH&S goals. Upon completion, it is just as important to evaluate those processes for continual improvement. The OH&S management system approach in ISO 45001:2018 is founded on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA).

The PDCA cycle is used by organizations for continual improvement. From its reliability, it has become a part of many ISO management system standards throughout the past several years. For ISO 45001:2018, the PCDA cycle incorporates:

  • Determining and assessing OH&S risks and opportunities and establishing objectives and processes necessary for meeting the organization’s context,
  • Implementing the processes as planned,
  • Monitoring and measuring the activities and processes in relation to OH&S objectives and reporting the results,
  • And taking actions to continually improve the OH&S management system’s performance.

This, while adjusted specifically for OH&S processes, compares to the usage of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle we see in other ISO management system standards. However, ISO 45001:2018 instills the PDCA cycle even further into its framework. As demonstrated by Figure 1 of the international standard, most sections of the document actually fit into a step of the cycle. With Clause 5, Leadership and worker participation being at the core of the cycle, the breakdown of the document is as follows:

  • Plan: Planning (6)
  • Do: Support (7) and Operation (8)
  • Check: Performance Evaluation (9)
  • Act: Improvement (10)

With this adherence to and basis in the PDCA model, ISO 45001:2018 assures its effectiveness.

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

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4 thoughts on “Plan-Do-Check-Act in ISO 45001:2018
  1. Active monitoring (BSAs).
    (b) Occupational health and safety (OH&S) objectives (for the whole site).
    (c) Management review (accidents with serious consequences).
    (d) Re-visiting plans and documents (re-visiting the risk assessment).
    (e) Competence (permit issued by a competent person).
    Hazard identification (hazards identified and understood by the permit
    issuer and contractor).
    (g) Internal communication (weekly feedback meetings).
    (h) Resources (providing resources for the OH&S management system).
    Control of documented information (careful version control).
    Managing incidents (incident investigation to identify root causes).
    (k) Evaluation of compliance (thorough reporting, recording of accidents).
    Emergency response (rescued by the site’s emergency response team).

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