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Development Areas Within The Occupational H&S Standards

22 July 2019
As we continue on our journey together with the migration and introduction of ISO 45001, I would like to give an overview of some of the common themes that clients raise during webinars, workshops and assessments.

Firstly, ISO 45001 is not just a rebadging of OHSAS 18001, it introduces and displays some new requirements and builds on the existing foundation of OHSAS 18001. The new standard has a structure (Annex SL) which means it aligns and can be more easily integrated with other ISO standards such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

There are a few key areas for development that come up regularly throughout my webinars and assessments which are outlined below:

Context of the organization in relation to OHS

It's worthwhile asking yourself the below questions:

  • Who are the interested parties?
  • What are they interested in?
  • How does the organization deliver the needs of the interested parties?
  • How does the organization measure and confirm these needs are met? Especially when things change, how do you know things have changed?

The context of the organization can be influenced by many things including legal and statutory obligations, strategic direction, changes in working practices and processes, change in technology and commercial demands (high and low demand periods).

It's also important to remember that workers are the core interested party as they are the primary group the standard is designed to protect.

During the assessment your auditor will have discussion with members of top management and worker representatives to help gather information in relation to the context and leadership.


All levels of management including top management have a role to play in the effective delivery of an OHS management system.

In addition to the Policy commitments, roles and responsibilities, resources, training and worker participation are all key requirements of ISO 45001. I would recommend a thorough read of the standard in order to understand and interpret the clause requirements and make sure that you are making them work for your own organization.

Both of the above elements of the standard are new and additional assessment time is a mandatory addition over and above the existing time allocated to OHSAS 18001. A minimum of at least one assessment day will be added to your migration assessment as part of the UKAS accreditation process and requirements. This is industry-wide and all certification bodies are obliged to do the same.

Although new or updated standards can feel daunting, I would suggest conducting a full internal audit to locate any gaps, however many companies that I have audited have found that the process actually isn't significantly different and they are already completing these tasks anyway.

I would just like to remind everyone the migration period for existing OHSAS 18001 registrations to ISO 45001 ends in March 2021. We are already half way through this critical period and we only have 18 months to go, and believe me, these months can go by very quickly.

My advice...don’t delay, get your preparations in to avoid last minute panic and to make sure you get the audit days you'd like and together we can make a success of the migration!

If you feel that you would like some guidance to secure you on your path to ISO 45001 certification then take advantage of NQA's range of useful training courses, no matter what stage of the process you are in. These can be found here

For more information on the benefits of ISO 45001 or to talk to us about your needs call us on 0800 052 2424 or email info@nqa.com.

Keep safe and be prepared.

Terry Fisher - Occupational Health & Safety Principal Assessor