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ISO 45001:2018 4.1 Content

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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


Organizations need to identify important internal and external issues relevant to the purpose of the business that can affect the stated outcome of the OH&S management system.  Much of this will depend on the size and / or complexity of the organisation as well as the nature of the business.


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


Typical external issues my include, but not limited to:




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

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, etc)

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

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


It should be noted that it is unlikely that you are going to find these details in a nice neat 4.1 'context of the organization' statement. It is more likely that this information will be found in the management and management review meeting minutes, OH&S policy, OH&S objectives, vision / 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... 


It is possibly worth mentioning that the standard does not require a formal process for documented information is created to prove issues relevant to the OH&S management have been determined.  However, it can be useful for accreditation bodies, internal and external audits and enforcement authorises, to name but a few... 


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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