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ISO 45001 Requirements

If you are looking to improve the occupational health and safety of your organisation, ISO 45001 is an international standard that can provide a helpful framework. This blog post will guide you through the essential requirements of ISO 45001, allowing you to create a healthier and safer workplace.


  • ISO 45001 is an international standard that helps organisations improve their occupational health and safety practices.
  • It focuses on key requirements such as addressing risks and opportunities, hazard identification and risk assessment, and setting health and safety objectives.
  • The standard emphasises the importance of leadership, worker participation, competence, awareness and communication, and documented information management.
  • By implementing ISO 45001 requirements, organisations can create a safer work environment for their employees and reduce workplace accidents.

Clause 4 Context of the Organisation

Clause 4 of ISO 45001 focuses on the organisation’s context, including internal and external issues, understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties, and implementing an occupational health and safety management system.

Internal and external issues.

Identifying internal and external issues is fundamental in implementing a successful ISO 45001 system. Internal factors include the organisation’s culture, resources, and overall performance.

They might also encompass workplace conditions, operational procedures, or staff training levels directly influencing occupational health and safety. Meanwhile, external elements such as legislative regulations or societal expectations come into play.

Market competition can impact how much an organisation prioritises safety compared to short-term profit margins. Understanding these issues enables an organisation to effectively align its OH&S management with broader business strategies.

Understanding interested party requirements

Your occupational health and safety management system’s success heavily relies on stakeholders’ involvement. It’s crucial to identify these parties, which may include employees, suppliers, customers, or regulatory bodies interested in your organisation.

Understanding their needs and expectations greatly assists in compliance with ISO 45001 requirements. This goes beyond just meeting legal obligations; it includes any potential impact on the physical well-being of these interested parties due to your business activities.

By thoroughly engaging with stakeholders, an organisation can gain valuable insights into managing occupational health and safety risks while fostering a healthier work environment for all involved.

OH&S management system

The ISO 45001 standard emphasises the importance of an Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) management system in any organisation.

The OH&S management system promotes proactive measures rather than reactive ones by pinpointing potential workplace hazards before they become issues. Its systematic approach aids in identifying, controlling, and reducing occupational health and safety risks.

Furthermore, it mandates a more substantial leadership role from managers for better oversight and implementation of safety protocols. It’s not just about adherence to guidelines; it’s also about fostering an organisational culture prioritising employee well-being above all else.

Clause 5 Leadership and worker participation

This clause focuses on the importance of safety leadership, health and safety policy, as well as consultation and participation of workers in the OH&S management system.

Safety leadership

Safety leadership is a crucial element of ISO 45001 requirements. It emphasises the need for management to actively promote occupational health and safety within the organisation at all levels.

This means that leaders must demonstrate their commitment to creating a safe work environment and ensuring the well-being of employees. Safety leadership involves:

Setting clear expectations.

Providing resources for safety initiatives.
Actively involving workers in decision-making processes.
By prioritising safety and leading by example, managers can inspire their teams to follow best practices and contribute to a positive safety culture.

Organisations can reduce workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses with effective safety leadership while fostering a safer working environment for everyone involved.

Health and safety policy

The health and safety policy is a crucial element of ISO 45001 and a legal requirement. It is a written document that outlines the organisation’s commitment to creating a safe and healthy work environment for its employees.

The policy should make specific commitments for setting health and safety objectives, fulfilling legal requirements, eliminating hazards and continually improving. The policy must be made available as documented information and communicated throughout the organisation.

Organisations can demonstrate their dedication to protecting their employees by implementing a comprehensive health and safety policy.

Consultation and participation of workers

Management must actively involve workers in the occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system to ensure a safe work environment. ISO 45001 require an organisation to prioritise the consultation and participation of workers throughout all levels of the organisation.

This means that workers should have a say in health and safety matters, such as hazard identification and risk assessment. By involving workers, organisations can benefit from their knowledge and experience, improving overall OH&S performance.

This active involvement also helps increase employee engagement and commitment to workplace safety.

Clause 6 Planning

Clause 6 of ISO 45001 requires organisations to address risks and opportunities, conduct hazard identification and risk assessments, and establish health and safety objectives.

Addressing risks and opportunities

The standard expects organisations to address risks and opportunities effectively in relation to occupational health and safety. This means that organisations must proactively identify potential hazards, assess the associated risks, and identify opportunities for improving safety standards and management.

Hazard identification and risk assessment

ISO 45001 requires businesses to conduct regular hazard identification and risk assessments. This means taking the following steps:

  1. Identify potential hazards in the workplace, such as dangerous machinery or toxic chemicals.
  2. Assess the risks associated with these hazards, considering factors like the likelihood of an incident occurring and the potential severity of its impact.
  3. Determine appropriate control measures to eliminate or minimise these risks.
  4. Implement and maintain these control measures, regularly reviewing and updating them as needed.

Health and safety objectives

Setting health and safety objectives is essential for a successful occupational health and safety management system. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Regularly monitoring and reviewing these objectives will help ensure that you continually strive for improvement and maintain a safe working environment for all.

Clause 7 Support

Clause 7 of ISO 45001 focuses on support, encompassing areas such as the competence of workers, awareness and communication, and the management of documented information.


ISO 45001 emphasises the importance of competence in managing occupational health and safety. This means that organisations must ensure their employees have the knowledge, skills, and experience to perform their tasks safely.

Competence can be achieved through appropriate training, education, and practical experience. By ensuring that employees are competent, organisations can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace.

It is also essential for organisations to regularly assess and review employee competence to identify any gaps or areas for improvement.

Awareness and Communication

All employees must be aware of occupational health and safety policies, procedures, and any hazards or risks associated with their work.

By promoting awareness and communicating effectively, organisations can ensure that employees know how to prevent workplace accidents and injuries.

Effective communication enables information to flow smoothly between different levels of the organisation, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding health and safety matters.

Regular meetings, training, and open lines of communication help create a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting potential hazards or suggesting improvements.

Documented information

ISO standards require organisations to maintain documented information in their occupational health and safety management system. This includes policies, procedures, instructions, records, and other documents supporting the organisation’s commitment to health and safety.

By controlling documents, you can ensure that their information is accurate and consistent, which helps in decision-making, control, and avoiding confusion.

It’s also important because having records of what was said, agreed upon, or delivered can help with incident investigations or resolve disputes or misunderstandings with internal and external stakeholders.

Clause 8 Operation

In this clause, we explore the requirements for operations under ISO 45001. Which includes how to eliminate hazards and reduce OH&S risks, manage change effectively, and ensure emergency preparedness and response procedures are in place.

Eliminating hazards and reducing OH&S risks.

Your organisation must establish, implement and maintain processes for the elimination of hazards and reduction of health and safety risks using the hierarchy of controls:

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls
  • Personal Protective Equipment

This means that you should implement what you planned in clause 6, such as conducting risk assessments, method statements and health and safety inspections.

Management of change

Introducing changes to processes, procedures, or equipment that could impact occupational health and safety must be carefully planned and implemented. Organisations must understand the importance of managing change effectively and have a process.

By actively managing change, organisations can prevent new hazards from occurring. Management needs to involve employees by consulting and informing them about any changes affecting their health and safety.

Proper training should also be provided to ensure everyone understands how the changes will be implemented and what they need to do to stay safe.

Emergency preparedness and response

Another key requirement is the need for organisations to have plans in place for emergency preparedness and response. This means you must proactively identify potential emergencies, establish protocols for responding to them, and regularly review and update your plans to ensure they remain effective.

Additionally, all relevant employees must be trained in emergency response procedures and that appropriate equipment and resources are readily available in an emergency.

Clause 9 Performance evaluation

This clause focuses on monitoring and measuring the performance of your occupational health and safety management system.

Monitoring and measuring

Monitoring and measuring occupational health and safety performance involves collecting data on workplace incidents, injuries, and near misses and tracking key indicators such as employee absenteeism rates or the number of safety training sessions conducted.

By monitoring and measuring these metrics, businesses can identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and evaluate the effectiveness of their health and safety procedures.

Internal audit

The internal audit process is crucial to ensuring that an organisation’s health and safety management system is being implemented effectively.

This process involves conducting planned audits at regular frequencies to evaluate and verify whether what the organisation claims to be doing is being done. By doing so, the organisation can be assured that its health and safety management system is operating as intended and that any issues or discrepancies are promptly identified and addressed.

In addition to providing assurance, the audit process also serves as a tool for improving the organisation’s operations. By identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes based on audit findings, the organisation can continuously enhance its health and safety management system, resulting in a safer and more efficient workplace. Therefore, it is essential for organisations to take the internal audit process seriously and to ensure that it is carried out regularly and effectively.

Management review

The management review is a cornerstone aspect of ISO 45001 as it allows top-level management to assess the performance of the occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system.

This review process includes an evaluation of the system’s effectiveness in achieving its objectives and identifying areas for improvement. Not only does this ensure that OH&S remains a top priority within the organisation, but it also helps to drive continual improvement.

Conducting regular management reviews has numerous benefits. Leadership can make informed decisions based on accurate data and employee feedback, creating a safer and healthier work environment. Furthermore, staying up-to-date with any changes in internal or external contexts that may impact workplace safety can help proactively identify potential risks or opportunities.

Clause 10 Improvement

Clause 10 focuses on improving accident and incident reporting, investigation, non-conformity, and continual improvement.

Accident and incident reporting and investigation

Organisations must establish a comprehensive system for reporting and investigating accidents and incidents. This is essential to ensure all employees’ health and safety and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Creating an environment that promotes open communication and transparency is essential to achieve this requirement. All employees should be encouraged to report accidents, near misses, and other incidents without fear of retaliation. Managers and supervisors should take an active role in creating this safety culture by providing regular training, supporting employees who report incidents, and addressing any concerns or issues.

In addition, organisations should conduct thorough investigations of all reported incidents to determine the root cause and identify any contributing factors. This information can then be used to develop and implement corrective actions to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.


ISO 45001 requires organisations to improve their occupational health and safety performance constantly. By regularly reviewing their OH&S management system, businesses can strengthen OH&S performance. Examples of continual improvement include new materials, equipment, people, technology, improved lines of communication and so on.

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