ISO 45001:2018 Introduction


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ISO 45001:2018 Introduction


ISO 45001:2018 PDCA model


Foreword: Whilst there is much general guidance on ISO 45001 2018 within the pages of this website, those organizations looking to gain accreditation will need to obtain a copy of the standard.  The British Standards Institution (BSI) link to ISO 45001 2018  For a mandatory publication, it's reassuringly expensive...


ISO 45001 2018 supersedes BS OHSAS 18001 2007, which has been withdrawn.


"The goal of ISO 45001 is the reduction of occupational injuries and diseases" 


ISO 45001:2018 is the world's first international standard for occupational health and safety. Aligning more closely with other International Standards for Quality (ISO 9001) and Environmental Management (ISO 14001), the standard uses the concept of the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle (PDCA), along with risk-based thinking to provide a guidance framework document for organizations wishing to implement or develop their own OH&S systems.


A more basic concept of the 45001:2018 OH&S standard is to provide guidance on running a safe and healthy workplace, both for the direct workforce and others who may be affected by its activities, at the same time seeking continuous improvement to the OH&S performance.


To varying degrees, most organizations will have OH&S management systems already in place. ISO 45001:2018 will provide a framework that caters for a holistic OH&S operation, where deficiencies will be routinely diagnosed; enabling the organization the opportunity to manage any previously unseen shortcomings.


ISO 45001:2018 compliance is not a legal requirement. However, following the framework of the document will assist in identifying an organization's legal obligations.


Simple PDCA cycle (also for interest see the health and safety PDCA INDG 275 guide).


An organization needs to understand the requirements of the standard to be able to achieve compliance. The following verbal forms are used throughout ISO 45001:2015 to place a clear emphasis on its intent.  These verbal forms enable the distinctions between requirements, recommendations, permissions, possibilities, and capabilities.    


ISO 45001 2018 uses the following four verbal forms:


a) “shall” indicates a requirement;
examples: is required to, it is required that, has to, it is necessary

b) “should” indicates a recommendation;
examples: it is recommended that, ought to

c) “may” indicates a permission;
examples: is permitted, is allowed, is permissible

d) “can” indicates a possibility or a capability.
examples: be able to, there is a possibility of, it is possible to



Footnote: a countries inspectors and incident investigators will continue to rely on a wide range of verifiable evidence and surveillance observations when determining an organisation’s compliance with health and safety laws, and not solely whether or not they maintain accreditation to the ISO 45001 2018 standard.

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