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What is ISO 45001

This international occupational health and safety standard is designed to help organisations reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and could be just what you need.


  • ISO 45001 is an international standard that helps organisations improve health and safety standards in the workplace by systematically reducing injuries and diseases.
  • It provides a comprehensive framework for implementing, maintaining, and improving an Occupational Health & Safety Management System.
  • The key features of ISO 45001 include risk assessment, hazard identification, legal compliance, incident reporting and investigation procedures, and continuous improvement.
  • ISO 45001 certification can improve workplace safety, increase employee engagement and morale, and enhance reputation and business opportunities.

What is an Occupational Health & Safety Management System?

An Occupational Health & Safety Management System, like ISO 45001, is a structured framework that helps organisations establish protective measures to create safer workplaces. These systems prioritise employees’ and visitors’ physical and mental health by reducing occupational injuries and diseases.

ISO 45001 offers an internationally recognised framework that businesses can follow to implement, maintain, or improve their Occupational Health & Safety Management System. This standard encompasses various areas vital for maintaining health and safety at work, such as training, emergency preparedness, monitoring and measurement.

It’s crucial to note that ISO 45001 emphasises continual improvements based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology while aligning with other management system standards like ISO 9001 for quality management or ISO 14001 for environmental management.

ISO 45001 Clauses

ISO 45001 has a structured framework consisting of different clauses that outline the requirements for an effective Occupational Health & Safety Management System.

Clause 4: Context of the organisation.

Understanding the context of your organisation is vital in ISO 45001 implementation. This refers to recognising internal and external factors directly impacting your health and safety management system.

Besides internal factors such as company culture, employee engagement, and management practices, it is also important to consider external aspects that may impact your business. These external factors include legal requirements for your industry sector or location, market trends, and economic conditions.

Carefully analysing and evaluating these factors will help guide decisions towards maintaining a safe and healthy workplace environment while aligning with business objectives.

Clause 5: Leadership

In ISO 45001, strong leadership forms the backbone of a successful occupational health and safety management system. It centres around the role of top management in taking accountability for protecting their workers’ safety, health and well-being.

These leaders are called upon to establish a positive safety culture within their organisation by setting clear objectives and policies aligned with ISO standards. Demonstrating commitment towards these goals encourages employee participation, fostering an environment that prioritises health and safety as fundamental organisational values.

Thus, achieving ISO 45001 certification is not solely about meeting regulatory demands but also signifies top-tier leadership’s dedication towards creating safer workspaces for everyone involved.

Clause 6: Planning

ISO 45001 clause 6 focuses on the planning stage of establishing an occupational health and safety management system. During this phase, organisations address risks and opportunities, determine goals and objectives for improving workplace safety, and plan to achieve these targets.

This section also covers hazard identification and risk assessment processes, which help organisations understand potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them effectively.

Planning is crucial in implementing ISO 45001 as it sets the foundation for creating a safe and healthy work environment.

Clause 7: Support

ISO 45001’s clause 7 focuses on support, which is essential to creating a safe and healthy workplace. This clause covers various resources such as people, equipment and infrastructure that assist organisations in establishing, implementing, and maintaining their occupational health and safety management system.

It also includes competence, awareness, and control of documents and records. By addressing these aspects comprehensively according to ISO 45001 guidelines, businesses can provide the necessary support to ensure the effective implementation of their health and safety policies.

Clause 8: Operation

ISO 45001 Section 8 focuses on the operational planning and control of an organisation’s occupational health and safety management system processes. This clause guides on implementing the plans and strategies outlined in previous clauses.

In this clause, businesses must establish processes to eliminate hazards, implement effective control measures, enforce personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, and replace dangerous with non-dangerous.

Additionally, organisations must have clear procedures for responding to emergencies, including training employees on appropriate emergency protocols.

Clause 9: Performance evaluation

Clause 9 of ISO 45001 focuses on performance evaluation. This is where you assess how well your occupational health and safety management system works. It involves monitoring and measuring incident rates, hazard identification, and risk assessments to ensure they effectively reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.

By regularly evaluating your performance, you can identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to keep your employees safe. Remember that continual improvement is a crucial aspect of ISO 45001, so measuring your progress against specific objectives and targets set by the organisation is essential.

Clause 10: Improvement

ISO 45001 includes a dedicated clause on improvement, emphasising the importance of continually enhancing an organisation’s occupational health and safety management system. This clause encourages businesses to identify areas for improvement, set new objectives, and implement actions to achieve those goals.

Organisations can proactively address any shortcomings or potential risks by regularly reviewing their processes and performance to create a safer and healthier workplace environment.

ISO 45001’s focus on improvement aligns to reduce occupational injuries and diseases, promote employee well-being, and ensure ongoing compliance with legal requirements.

Key Features of ISO 45001

  • Risk assessment and hazard identification are essential components of ISO 45001.
  • Legal compliance is a crucial feature of ISO 45001, ensuring businesses meet all relevant health and safety regulations.
  • Incident reporting and investigation procedures are emphasised in ISO 45001 to promote a thorough understanding of workplace accidents or near misses.
  • Continuous improvement is encouraged through regular evaluation and analysis to identify areas for enhancement in health and safety management.

Risk assessment and hazard identification

ISO 45001 places a strong emphasis on risk assessment and hazard identification. This means that organisations must identify potential hazards or risks to health and safety in the workplace, evaluate their severity and likelihood of occurrence, and take appropriate measures to control or eliminate them.

Legal compliance

ISO 45001 helps businesses ensure legal compliance with occupational health and safety regulations. This standard provides a framework for organisations to identify and understand relevant laws, regulations, and other requirements related to workplace safety.

Incident reporting and investigation

A strong emphasis is placed on incident reporting and investigation. This means organisations must have a system for employees to report work-related incidents, accidents, or near misses.

Continuous improvement

By regularly reviewing and evaluating processes, organisations can identify areas for improvement and implement necessary changes. Continuous improvement is essential for maintaining a safe workplace environment and preventing accidents or injuries.

How to Achieve ISO 45001 Certification

Achieving ISO 45001 certification involves several essential steps. These steps will guide you through the process and help ensure your organisation meets the requirements:

  1. Conduct an initial gap analysis to assess your current occupational health and safety management system against the ISO 45001 standard.
  2. Develop an implementation plan that outlines the necessary actions, responsibilities, and timelines for achieving compliance.
  3. Train employees on the requirements of ISO 45001 and their roles in implementing and maintaining the standard.
  4. Establish and document procedures for identifying hazards, assessing risks, and controlling them effectively.
  5. Implement operational controls to mitigate identified risks and ensure a safe working environment.
  6. Monitor and measure your occupational health and safety performance to track progress towards objectives and targets.
  7. Conduct internal audits regularly to identify non-conformances or areas for improvement within your management system.
  8. Correct any identified nonconformance promptly and take appropriate actions to prevent its recurrence.
  9. Engage with a reputable certification body to certify organisations against ISO 45001.
  10. Undergo an external audit by the certification body to assess compliance with the standard’s requirements.


In conclusion, ISO 45001 is the international occupational health and safety management standard. It provides a framework for organisations to establish and maintain a safe and healthy workplace, reducing the risks of occupational injuries and diseases.

By obtaining ISO 45001 certification, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being, comply with legal requirements, and enhance their reputation in the industry.

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