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ISO 45001—What You Need to Know

Sean Salvas
by Sean Salvas on Tue, Mar 27, 2018

Why ISO 45001? What Does It Mean to EHS Leaders?ISO 45001—What You Need to Know

Did you know that over 7,600 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases—that’s over 2.78 million every year as stated by the International Labour Organization. Clearly, this number (or any number besides zero) is too high. The burden of occupational injuries and diseases is significant, both for employers and the wider economy, resulting in losses from early retirements, absenteeism and rising insurance premiums. Even worse, employee productivity and morale suffer directly which affects an organization’s bottom line.

To combat the issue, ISO has developed a new standard, ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. Officially published on March 12, 2018, ISO 45001 is the first global standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and provides clear requirements for such systems. ISO's goal with this new standard is to provide organizations with a clear framework to help improve workplace safety, reduce risk and foster better working conditions for all employees.

The standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, following other generic management system approaches, standards, guidelines, conventions and benchmarks such as ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 9001 (quality), OHSAS 18001, ILO-OSH and AS/NZS 4801. ISO 45001 is designed to replace the existing OHSAS 18001 framework and leverage the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model while also representing a more proactive approach to EHS management.

Prior to this release, there had not been an international standard for health and safety management systems. By following a common framework shared by other ISO standards (more harmonized approach), ISO 45001 will enable organizations to use consistent terminology and records across all their systems. This creates a more integrated and enhanced approach to EHS, streamlining processes, increasing efficiency and ultimately fostering continuous improvement and operational excellence.

Transitioning from OHSAS to ISO 45001 - What Do EHS Leaders Need to Do Now?

Organizations currently following OHSAS 18001 standard will have a three-year period to transition to ISO 45001.

By adopting the new standard, EHS leaders will now need to focus on key items related to:

  • Developing, implementing and tracking occupational health and safety objectives
  • Establishing and integrating processes
  • Defining, tracking and prioritizing hazards and risks associated with processes
  • Establishing operational controls to manage risks
  • Considering human factors and ergonomics in the hazard identification process
  • Evaluating current processes and their linkages to ISO 45001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001

ISO 45001 represents a major step forward for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. Adoption of such a standard will help make the workplace safer for employees, encourage employee wellbeing and enable organizations to reach the enhanced stage of EHS maturity.

Get more information on the standard here.

 How Can EtQ Help with ISO 45001 Compliance?

EtQ’s flexible and integrated EHSQ management platform enables organizations to implement best-in-class solutions configured to meet their process needs. Whether it’s adopting the new ISO 45001 framework or other existing management systems (ISO 14001, ISO 9001), EtQ can help you drive towards operational excellence.

About EtQ

EtQ is the leading Quality, EHS and Compliance management software provider for identifying, mitigating and preventing high-risk events through integration, automation and collaboration. At the core of EtQ’s framework is a compliance management platform that enables organizations to implement best-in-class compliance processes configured to meet their existing processes, create new compliance processes and automate and control their compliance ecosystem. EtQ’s product lineup includes Reliance™ for enterprise organizations and Verse Solutions™ for mid-sized businesses. EtQ was founded in 1992 and has main offices located in the U.S. and Europe. To learn more about EtQ and its various product offerings, visit or

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