IOSH 45001

by Laura Aucott

I was lucky enough to recently attend a breakfast briefing on the new ISO 45001 system at this year’s IOSH Conference. Having heard a lot about the change, but not much about what the actual differences were with the new system and what this means for companies moving into 2018, I thought I would share my notes on the subject - hope that this helps!

The breakfast briefing was hosted by Richard Jones from IOSH, who gave us a really in depth look into the system. He started by explaining that this standard has come about as there is still a significant global death toll related to safety accidents. Although 18001 has been well used it isn't an agreed international standard - this means it doesn't align entirely with 9001 and 14001 that do have more of an international appeal. An audit was also done by ISO of the 18001 system and they found it just to be maddeningly inconsistent e.g there were multiple definitions throughout that contradicted each other, including 328 separate definitions of "organisation" (!) which just breeds inconsistencies.

The first thing ISO did was to develop an "annexe SL" which was to define terminology and to align the new standard more closely to 9001 and 14001 - for example this now has the same 10 clauses in the same order. They have tried to develop an almost identical core text which meant the new standard now has a 40% similarity to the other standards - which will help create consistency globally and help with integrating systems.

The main aims of the new standard are to minimise risk of harm (by providing a platform for continuous improvement, and a system that is not only easier to integrate with other systems, but also with business systems - making it more intuitive) - to cover mental and physical health, to emphasise the context of the system, emphasise leadership and a change to "documentation" (see below)

Context - The new system looks at the cultural context as well as the legal context, and also takes into account supply chain and any internal issues (such as the governance of the organisation etc)

Leadership - This now has an emphasis on leadership and the need for top management to be seen to take an active role in safety and promoting positivity. A big difference is that auditors no longer will have a nominated person to speak to - they can speak to anyone in the organisation so it is imperative that senior management are heavily involved in safety. There is also a focus on communication channels.

Documentation - the definition of documentation has now changed and no longer solely refers to physical paper documentation/files. Documentation now recognises we are in a digital age and evidence and policies can now be presented in any form - this includes (but is not limited to) audio files, video, workshops, apps etc. Auditors now have to consider all forms of documentation and don't have to have a physical file to work from.


There are six stages to developing a new standard, ISO are currently at the approval stage, and the date of release is looking likely to be Feb/March 2018.Once this system is launched companies with 18001 certification will have 3 years (from the date of their certification, not launch of new system) to change over to 45001 or lose their cert. IOSH is strongly suggesting that businesses adopt the principles of the system at least moving forward.

IOSH is also looking for early adopters of the system for case studies they can use in promotional material - anyone interested can contact IOSH for a case study application.

I hope this helps give you a little more insight into the new system - but more than happy to discuss with people their thoughts! Get in touch at

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