OHSAS 18001 Transition to ISO 45001: What You Need to Know

As the dust is settling on the ISO 9001:2015 transition we must now look to the latest change from ISO. After many years of planning and deliberations, OHSAS has relinquished 18001 and ISO has developed a new health and safety standard. ISO 45001 is the new standard for organizations seeking to demonstrate health and safety compliance.There are two critical issues associated with ISO 45001. While the standard focuses on Health and Safety, at heart all standards are about management systems. As such, ISO 45001 focuses on the processes that assure health and safety – not any specific health or safety issue. Second, health and safety are heavily regulated. Before there was ISO 45001, there was OHSAS 18001, and before 18001 there were organizations such as OSHA (which still exist and have to be navigated). All of that to say, ISO 45001 (much like OHSAS 18001) requires process skills and knowledge of management systems.

Auditing of ISO 45001 requires the same skills and knowledge. While knowledge of health and safety issues are beneficial, it is essential for organizations to ensure the effectiveness of the system that protects against those issues.

As of right now, information related to the official transition deadline has not been provided, however, information regarding how organizations can begin preparing to transition to ISO 45001 is readily available.

The current timeline for transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 is three years. This means by roughly May of 2021 organizations will need to comply with ISO 45001. The good news is that the transition is going to be easy in many ways. Organizations who have already adopted ISO 9001:2015 or 14001 will be able to add 45001 as it is an Annex SL standard easily. The IAF has determined that organizations transitioning to 45001 will only need one additional audit day above their traditional auditing schedule to ensure they have transitioned properly from 18001 to 45001.

The bulk of the work in the transition will be making sure your organization’s documents are updated to match ISO’s risk-based approach. While transitioning, organizations will be able to integrate safety measures into both their ISO 9001 management systems and ISO 14001 environmental procedures. Ultimately, transitioning from OHSAS should be relatively smooth, and the benefits will be numerous.

Organizations who transition will be able to see

  • An increase in industry recognition as an organization focused on health and safety standards
  • Adaptability to potential health and safety issues due to ISO’s risk-based approach and 45001’s focus on prevention
  • A complete management system which focuses on the management of personnel, environmental, and health and safety concerns

It is possible your organization is an expert in the safety expectations for your industry; however, some organizations may need assistance in adjusting this information into a management system. Cavendish Scott can provide that help.

Cavendish Scott has the expertise to help you implement ISO 45001. We have been working with ISO management system standards for over 30 years. Organizations frequently outsource vital activities to professional subcontractors. Cavendish Scott has assisted in hundreds ISO transitions. We can give management confidence and assurance of continued certification while keeping everyone in the organization safe. We have the experience of designing and implementing thousands of management systems and have never failed an ISO assessment. We are extremely business focused and deliver practical, low maintenance, and value-added solutions. Our turnkey consulting approach takes most of the effort from you while guaranteeing a successful registration.