Global Standard Available for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
The International Organization for Standardization has published ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Requirements, a voluntary consensus standard that provides a framework for improving employee health and safety, reducing workplace risks, and creating better, safer working conditions around the world.  “ISO 45001 is one of the most significant developments in workplace safety over the past 50 years,” said Vic Toy, CIH, CSP, in a press release issued by the American Society of Safety Engineers. “The goal was to create a widely accepted standard that can produce a highly effective safety and health management system for an increasingly interconnected world, regardless of an organization’s size, location, supply chains, or nature of work.” Toy is chair of the United States Technical Advisory Group to the American National Standards Institute, which participated in developing the standard. In development for five years, the new standard applies the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” concept, an iterative process often used as a means to achieve continual improvement of business processes. ISO 45001 has the same structure as other ISO management system standards, including ISO 14001, Environmental Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use, and ISO 9001, Quality Management. The three standards also use the same definitions for common terms. ISO maintains that these similarities will allow organizations to more easily integrate their OHSMS with their quality and environmental management systems. ISO 45001 is based on the occupational health and safety management systems standards OHSAS 18001 and ANSI/ASSE Z10. The British Standards Institute has announced that it will withdraw OHSAS 18001. The U.S. TAG favors maintaining Z10. One of the new standard’s requirements is that organizations establish processes for eliminating hazards and reducing risks to health and safety through implementation of the hierarchy of controls. The new standard also focuses on health and safety leadership within an organization, worker participation in health and safety decisions, and external factors that affect health and safety.  According to ISO, a projected benefit for organizations that adopt the new standard is a mechanism for improving health and safety across supply chains.  “In our increasingly globalized world, with the development of extended and complex supply chains and growth in migrant and vulnerable workers, ISO 45001’s emphasis on health and safety management in supply chains should mean that contracting, procurement and outsourcing are more responsibly managed, potentially saving many lives,” said Richard Jones, who represented the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health during development of ISO 45001.  To purchase the new standard, visit the ISO website. Additional information about the standard is available from the organization's magazine, ISOFocus. For information about ISO 45001 from BSI, visit the BSI website.