The new Draft ISO 45001 (building on OHSAS 18001), sets requirements for occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems. Major differences between OHSAS 18001 and the new ISO 45001 include a much stronger focus on the “context” of an organization as well as a stronger role for top management and leadership.

An organization will need to look beyond its immediate health and safety issues and take into account what the wider society expects of it. Organizations have to think about their contractors and suppliers as well as, for example, how their work might affect their neighbours in the surrounding area. This is much wider than just focusing on the conditions for internal employees and means organizations cannot just contract out risk. These OHS aspects now will be embodied in the overall management system of the organization, requiring a much stronger buy-in from its management and leadership. This will be a big change for users who may currently delegate responsibility to a safety manager rather than integrate this entirely into the organization’s operations. ISO 45001 requires health and safety aspects to be part of an overall management system and no longer just an added extra. Further, OHS will be more easily integrated with ISO 14001 (Quality Management systems).

Many countries across the globe have been actively involved in the standard’s development, including Australia, countries from Europe and America and also Africa, Asia and South America.

The final publication date is set for late 2016.