ISO 45001:2018 | Health & Safety Certification Standard | NQA

ISO 45001:2018, the replacement of OHSAS 18001, was published on 12th March 2018.

If you are an existing NQA OHSAS 18001 client please click here for migration support and to download the gap analysis document you must complete prior to your migration audit. 

WHAT IS ISO 45001?

ISO 45001:2018 is the replacement to OHSAS 18001 and is the international ISO standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS).

Not only has the standard superceded OHSAS 18001, it makes integration with other management systems simpler than ever before; because it shares the new common structure defined by Annex SL, it is directly aligned with the 2015 versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. 

You can find more information about this standard and the differences to OHSAS 18001 here in the NQA ISO 45001 Gap Guide - download HERE.


If you have certification to OHSAS 18001 you will need to migrate to ISO 45001 to maintain the validity of certification.

There is the normal 3 year migration period so there is still time to plan your move over to ISO 45001.


Because ISO 45001 is agreed globally, do you think it will be a 'watered down' version of OHSAS 18001? No – it is a new standard using an established structure based on an effective management model, it is designed to be used as part of a business management system.

Legislation Registers / Aspects and Impacts Registers: Is there a minimum requirement for what they must contain? No – the contents are based on the business activity, geographical location and local /national enforcement requirements. Each organisation is unique.


The new definitions of the terms ‘Risk’, ‘The Worker’, ‘The Workplace’ and ‘Hazard Identification’ may change for the following reasons:

Risk. A universal definition of the term ‘Risk’ is clarified in ISO 45001 as the meaning of this varies in some countries. The term ‘Hazard Identification’ is covered by the terms ‘risk identification and ‘risk control’ to ensure we encompass all potential hazards applicable to all industries and sectors.

The worker. There are differences in the definition of this term and various legal constraints around this term in different countries – in the context of ISO 45001, ‘The Worker’ is defined as the person working under the control of the organization and includes subcontractors.

The work place. There are questions amongst organizations regarding what the workplace is, is it your organization’s site?


The issue of hazard identification is that it is currently very manufacturing, and hardware orientated, when more and more of us are working in services. ‘Hazard’ identification, therefore becomes ‘risk’ identification and ‘risk’ control to ensure we encompass all potential hazards applicable to all industries and sectors.

If your organization sends people to work at other people’s site, what is your responsibility for their safety? A universal definition of the term will need to be clarified.


Outsourcing - What is your responsibility?

What would be the damage to your business reputation if one of your outsourced suppliers or contractors created a significant OHS incident? ISO 45001 looks to define the answer in a way that can apply to all sectors and industries.

Worker participation:

There is some clarification required around expectations upon ‘worker participation’ and the ‘participation of worker representatives’ e.g. union and/or employee health & safety reps’ involvement in the day to day operations of the health & safety management system.

While top management will be responsible for setting organizational health & safety policy, they should be in consultation with union representatives and health & safety personnel.

The International Labour Organization wanted a lot more requirements on this issue. Many companies do not have any representatives what so ever. If there are no representatives within an organization, the standard will not force this requirement upon them as it is not a legal obligation either.


Charles Corrie’s recommendations to adopters and non-users of OHSAS 18001 health and safety management systems:


Many clauses requirements of ISO 45001 are the same or similar to OHSAS 18001 – however they are presented in a different sequence and may use different terminology.

Advice to existing users:

  • Get a copy of the standard at 
  • Examine the changes
  • Do a gap analysis against your current OHSAS 18001 system
  • Start planning your migration

There are significant benefits to be realized by your business now.


Watch our pre recorded webinar for a presentation on how the ISO 45001 standard changes the way occupational health and safety management systems are implemented and certified.

Terry Fisher, OHSMS Assessor explains:

  • The structure of the standard and introduction to Annex SL
  • The key concepts of ISO 45001
  • New terminology and important definitions introduced in ISO 45001
  • The main differences between the requirements of OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001
  • Q&A

Once you've watched the video you can also download our handy Gap Analysis document which gives a clause-by-clause comparison of OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001.

ISO 45001 Timeline


GAP ANALYSIS - our OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 gap analysis provides a clause-by-clause comparison of the standards and highlights the new requirements. Download it here.

WATCH THE WEBINAR - learn more about ISO 45001 in this webinar recording presented by Terry Fisher, OHSMS technical expert. Watch here.

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ISO 45001 Gap Guide


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