ISO 45001: A Guide To Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

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In summary, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 is a dynamic framework to assist companies in implementing an effective health and safety management system.  This enables employers to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health. 

It also manages a variety of safety and health concerns as well as work-related injuries or illnesses across all projects, from straightforward office environments to more high-risk working environments.

Companies may decide to comply with their local Health and Safety legislation only, however there are internationally recognized health and safety (OH&S) managements systems.  This standard is known as ISO 45001 and was released in 2018.

What is ISO 45001:2018?

ISO 45001:2018 outlines the requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system and provides guidance for its application, enabling organizations to provide safe and secure working environments by preventing business-related injury and weakness as well as by proactively further developing its occupational health and safety (OH&S) implementation.


What are the fundamentals of ISO 45001?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) creates standards to guarantee the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of goods, services, and systems within an organization.

The ISO 45001 standard was developed to protect employees, visitors and contractors from illnesses and accidents associated with conducting business. The goal of the ISO 45001 certification is to eliminate any factors that could put individuals or groups in danger of suffering permanent harm.

The advantages of ISO 45001 are to:

  •       Boost worker safety.
  •       Boost the trust of the stakeholders.
  •       Increase productivity.
  •       Lower insurance costs.
  •       Encourage managerial accountability and participation.
  •       Reduce risk.
  •       Identify opportunities.
  •       Stand out as an industry leader.

The requirements of ISO 45001:

The ISO 45001 standard is divided into 10 clauses that are meant to provide the client with a clear and defined design as well as a list of requirements that must be completed when used with the health and safety (OH&S) executives framework.

Clauses 4 through 10 contain the essential information to implement the standard into your daily business operations, whereas clauses 1 to 3 provide details on the scope of the rule, regulatory references, and explanations or phrasing that help with the better understanding you might interpret the standard.

Although it is a good idea to approach the clauses in order, you will discover that you need to go back and adjust each stipulation as it becomes apparent.  When the clause criteria overlap, your comprehension of how the standard might address issues unique to your association changes. 

It is important to monitor your health and safety management system on a regular basis to ensure an effective system that benefits both management, the staff, your clients and contractors.


How does my company become ISO 45001 certified?

  1. Create and implement a management system that is in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and compliant with ISO 45001.
  2. Arrange an audit with a recognized outside party.
  3. To make sure you are in compliance; an auditor will examine your procedures and methods of execution.
  4. If necessary, address any compliance problems found during the audit.

Is ISO 45001 right for me?

There are some important factors to take into consideration when you decide to obtain ISO certification.

  • Learn about the ISO 45001 standard and what is required from your company.
  • Perform Gap Analysis and begin OH&S Audit and determine where you need to change your existing management system.
  • Create a project plan to prepare your company for the ISO requirement.
  • Train your staff on the ISO requirements and what the company expects from them.
  • Design your documents and establish your processes.
  • Once the system has been developed, your staff will have to follow the processes.  Your company will have to collect the necessary data and improve your ISO management system where necessary.
  • You need to review the management system on a regular basis and perform internal audits to determine the effectiveness of your system.
  • Once you are satisfied with the development of your management system, you can contact a reputable ISO Auditing company to perform the necessary audits and obtain your certification.

The importance of an ISO 45001 certification

Even though it is not a legal requirement to have an ISO 45001 certification, some clients may have it as a requirement in order for you to conduct business with them.

The goal of ISO 45001 is to continually motivate you to improve your organization’s health and safety.  Practically speaking, having ISO certification indicates that your company has all the resources, tools, and equipment required to produce your products or services.

The certification from the International Organization for Standardization builds credibility and trust among your customers, stakeholders, and other business partners. ISO certification ensures that the organization complies with international business standards.

ISO certification can enable a corporation to increase productivity, improve resource achievement, and could give you the opportunity of worldwide expansion.

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