Get ready for ISO 45001

Get ready for ISO 45001

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 45001 Standard for occupational health and safety management systems is expected in 2018. MARISKA MORRIS reviews how companies can prepare

The Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001 Standard is the current OHS management standard used worldwide. However, an OHSAS Standard and Certification Survey in 2015 found that there were around 40 different versions of the standard among the 90 000 certifications for the standard issued.

ISO 45001 aims to standardise OHS management systems across the globe. It also introduces three new management concepts.

In addition to the policy, objectives, internal audits, management reviews and continual improvements – which are integral to OHSAS 18001 – ISO 45001 also introduces context of the organisation, leadership and documented information as part of the management systems.

The standard follows the same management system approaches as ISO 9001, which is an internationally recognised quality management system standard that is the preferred solution for more than a million organisations across 150 countries.

The draft of ISO 45001 is currently in its second enquiry stage and ISO hopes to publish the standard by March 2018. However, Ian Osmond, business development manager and country coordination of Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) – which provides independent assessment services including certification – notes that the standard might be available in South Africa only by the second quarter of 2018.

“The global publication date is planned for early 2018, but the exact date has not yet been confirmed. If the standard is published in early 2018, then accredited certification bodies will need to prove to their respective accreditation bodies that they are capable of delivering this new standard based on ISO/IEC 17021 criteria.

“Once a certification body is approved to deliver accredited certification to ISO 45001, they can then contact their clients to start the transition phase,” Osmond says.

Some companies will only start migrating to the ISO 45001 in 2019. OHSAS 18001 certified companies will need to migrate to the standard to maintain a valid certification.

“If a company is ISO 9001 registered and it wants to migrate to ISO 45001, there will be a three-year window in which to do that,” NQA Africa chairman, Michael Timberlake, says.

Although there is still plenty of time to prepare for the standard, companies should already start planning for the migration. Timberlake and Osmond note the importance of getting a copy of the standard as soon as it is available on the ISO website.

“Once ISO 45001 is published, companies should attend transition training to ensure they are aware of all the changes. They should also purchase a copy of the standard and start with the implementation as soon as possible. Even though the transition period is three years from publication, it is always advisable to implement the changes sooner rather than later,” Osmond says.

Timberlake advises companies to compare the standards and do a gap analysis before implementing the ISO 45001 standard.

“Be prepared, but remember that the migration of certification is not possible until the ISO 45001 has been published,” Timberlake concludes.

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