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What is the key difference between OHSAS 18001 vs. ISO 45001

By Avetta Marketing
March 02, 2021
3 minutes
the key difference between OHSAS 18001 vs. ISO 45001

OHSAS 18001 vs. ISO 45001 

To prevent and limit onsite work incidents, businesses can receive certification in a standard for occupational health and safety management. Two well-known standards are ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001—but what is the difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001?  

ISO 45001 is designed to replace OHSAS 18001 next year; in fact, organizations who are already certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to migrate to ISO 45001 by the end of March 2021. Businesses who do not transition over to an ISO 45001 certification will find themselves without an accredited occupational health and safety management system and will lose the benefits that come with that title. 

What is ISO 45001? 

ISO 45001 is the new ISO standard for occupational health and safety. It is set to drastically improve levels of workplace safety and productivity. With an emphasis on management commitment, worker involvement, and risk control, ISO 45001 aims to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by specifying requirements for an occupational health and safety management system. 

This new standard, which will replace OHSAS 18001, follows the approach of other management systems such as ISO 14001 and ISO 90001. While ISO 45001 draws on certain aspects of OHSAS 18001, it is a new and distinct standard, not a revision or update, and is due to be phased out to organizations gradually over the next three years. Businesses will need to ensure their current thinking and worksite safety practices are in order to maintain organizational compliance. 

What is OHSAS 18001? 

OHSAS 18001 focuses on controlling hazards. It provides a framework for the effective management of occupational health and safety including all aspects of risk management and legal compliance. It addresses occupational health and safety rather than any specific product safety matters.  

What are the key differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001? 

The main difference between the two standards is ISO 45001 takes a proactive approach that requires hazard risks to be evaluated and remedied before they cause accidents and injuries, while OHSAS 18001 takes a reactive approach that focuses solely on risks and not solutions.  

The standards also diverge in many other ways:  

  • Objectives & Performance: In ISO 45001, there is an increased focus on objectives as drivers for improvements and performance evaluation. These objectives can range in topics like participation of workers, internal and external communication, and procurement. 

  • Structure: ISO 45001’s structure is based on Annex SL, which is the framework for other ISO management system standards—making implementation easier and more efficient. 

  • Leadership & Management Commitment: ISO 45001 requires a stronger emphasis on top management to actively incorporate health and safety into the overall management system of the organization. 

  • Risk & Opportunity Management: With ISO 45001, companies determine, consider, and take action to address both risks and opportunities that may disrupt production. Although ISO 45001 considers both, OHSAS 18001 deals exclusively with hazards.  

  • Worker & Third-Party Involvement: ISO 45001 introduces enhanced focus on the needs and expectations for all workers and interested parties and requires employee training and education to identify risks. OHSAS 18001 does not allow for broader employee participation. 

These differences represent a significant shift in the way health and safety are managed. To succeed, business must reevaluate their current management systems and prepare to migrate to ISO 45001

To learn more about how Avetta can help with worker management visit our website, call 844-633-3801, or email [email protected].

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