Key changes in ISO 45001 vs OHSAS 18001

ISO 45001 applies the ISO High Level Structure (HLS), common for all ISO standards. Some of the changes in ISO 45001 vs. OHSAS 18001 are induced by the common HLS and some are specific to occupational health and safety.

As ISO 45001 is now released, OHSAS 18001 will be withdrawn. Companies must migrate to the new standard by March 2021. ISO 45001 is an international standard, ensuring enhanced compatibility with other standards, such as ISO 9001 and 14001. It makes it easier to implement and integrate to a management system, giving increased value for users. 

If you are already applying OHSAS 18001, you will recognize most of the requirements in ISO 45001. However, there are quite a few changes from OHSAS 18001 that you must prepare for in order to migrate and comply with ISO 45001.

Key changes in ISO 45001

  • Business Context: Chapter 4.1, external and internal issues, introduces new clauses for systematic determination and monitoring of the business context.
  • Workers and other interested parties: Chapter 4.2 introduces enhanced focus on needs and expectations for workers and other interested parties and worker involvement. This to systematically identify and understand factors that need to be managed through the management system.
  • Risk and opportunity management: Described in chapters 6.1.1,, 6.1.4, companies are to determine, consider and, where necessary, take action to address any risks or opportunities that may impact (either positively or negatively) the ability of the management system to deliver its intended results, including enhanced health and safety at the workplace.
  • Leadership and management commitment: Stated in chapter 5.1, ISO 45001 has stronger emphasis on top management to actively engage and take accountability for the effectiveness of the management system.
  • Objectives and Performance: Strengthened focus on objectives as drivers for improvements (chapters 6.2.1,6.2.2) and performance evaluation (chapter 9.1.1).
  • Extended requirements related to:
    • Participation, consultation and participation of workers (5.4)
    • Communication (7.4): More prescriptive in respect of the “mechanics” of communication, including determination of what, when and how to communicate.
    • Procurement, including outsourced processes, and contractors (8.1.4)