A new international occupational health and safety management systems standard is currently under development with publication expected in October 2016. A public consultation period for the committee draft of ISO 45001 – Occupational health and safety management standard systems – requirements with guidance for use is now open, with UK comments requested by 8th September 2014. BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, is leading the consultation process in the UK and interested parties can register their comments online. All comments submitted will then be taken into account by a panel of experts before the UK formally forwards agreed comments to the international committee.

Occupational health and safety continues to be a priority across the world. Despite extensive regulation, existing standards and guidelines work-related disease still kills millions globally each year, with hundreds of thousands more fatalities also caused by workplace accidents.

The international committee developing ISO 45001 includes experts from over 50 countries and 20 liaison bodies, all with knowledge and practical experience of occupational health and safety issues and the challenges faced. The new standard is designed to replace the widely-used OHSAS 18001 whilst also taking into account other key documents and discussion points from around the world. Ultimately it will provide a single, clear framework  for organisations of all types and sizes who wish to improve their OH&S performance and protect those working on their behalf or who may be affected by the organisation’s activities.

ISO 45001 is being developed using a collaborative, consensus-based approach taking into account the views of both large and small organisations, government bodies, trades unions and worker representative organisations. To ensure the widest possible input is received from stakeholders ISO and BSI have taken the unusual step of making the current committee draft available to the public. There will be a further public consultation in 2015 after a re-drafting of the standard to reflect comments received following the current consultation.

ISO 45001 has been written to a common text and structure defined by ISO for use by all management system standards. The common structure will ensure that the new standard is broadly aligned to the forthcoming revisions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 – thus helping those who are implementing multiple management systems.

Alignment with other key management system standards

  • Less prescriptive requirements which direct organisations to design a management system uniquely suited to each organisation’s occupational health and safety needs

  • A single internationally agreed standard suitable for all organisations worldwide

  • Anne Hayes, head of market development for Governance & Risk at BSI, said: “Occupational health and safety is a matter of importance for all businesses worldwide, regardless of their size or sector. It is not an issue that can be ignored especially when it can literally mean life and death for many. Historical workplace tragedies could have been avoided if a secure occupational infrastructure had been in place using a standard such as ISO 45001 for guidance.”