ISO 45001:2018 4.1 Content


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QHSE Support >(Site Map) Health & Safety Guidance > ISO 45001:2018 Clauses > ISO 45001:2018 clause 4 >  

ISO 45001:2018 Clause 4.1 Understanding the organization and its context







ISO 45001:2018 Clause 4.1 Understanding the organization and its context


Clause 4.1 Breakdown


4.1 Understanding the organization and its context


Context of the organization


Understanding the context of the organization is paramount for effective OH&S management. This involves identifying both internal and external factors that can influence the organization's OH&S outcomes. The specifics of this understanding will vary depending on the size, complexity, and nature of the organization.


In simpler terms, organizations must demonstrate an awareness of their internal and external OH&S issues and how these are addressed within the OH&S management system.


Simplistic view. "Demonstrate an understanding of the organization's internal and external OH&S issues, and characterize how within the OH&S management system they are managed."


Typical external issues may include, but are not limited to:




relevant legislation (e.g. Acts, Regulations, Statutory Instruments)

enforcement bodies

industry specific requirements

emergency services

trade associations

general public

culture, social and political influence

optional requirements (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, IOSH membership)


Typical internal issues my include, but not limited to:


Economics and Financial factors

Organizational governance and structure

business activities (e.g. chemical, biological agents, explosive, moving machinery)

workforce characteristics (e.g. training, skills, experience, competency, age, attitudes and cultural beliefs)

employment practices (e.g. workloads, working hours and shift patterns, working conditions, ergonomic considerations)


It is unlikely that clause 4.1 context of the organization statement details will be in a nice neat place. Instead, it may need to be gleaned from various sources such as:


management and management review meeting minutes:

OH&S policy,

OH&S objectives,

vision and mission statements,

project plans,

performance reviews,

operational controls,

work procedures,

work instructions,

emergency response procedures,

monitoring, measurement, and performance figures,

OH&S objectives,

accident statistics,

accident investigations,

absenteeism records,

training records, etc.


While the standard does not mandate a formal process for documenting this information, having such documentation can prove beneficial for accreditation bodies, internal and external audits, and enforcement agencies.


Understanding the organization's context lays the foundation for developing and implementing an effective OH&S management system that aligns with the organization's goals and objectives.


Useful integrated management system cross references


ISO 9001-2015 4.1 - Understanding the organization and its context

ISO 14001-2015 4.1 - Understanding the organization and its context


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