ISO 45001 – The New Safety Standard – It’s About Time!

ISO 45001 is the newly released international health and safety standard from the International Standards Organisation.

It was released early in 2018 and certification bodies are now auditing against it in Australia.

If you are thinking of certifying your business’ OHS / WHS management system, then this is the standard to consider.


Historically Australian companies have had a choice between the Australia and New Zealand standard AS/NZS 4801:2001 or the British standard OHAS 18001:2007. It is important to note that ISO 45001 will completely replace OHAS 18001 over the course of the next 3 years, so now is the time to start thinking about the new standard. If you are certified to AS/NZS 4801 then you might also consider a transition to ISO 45001 in this 3- year period. So what’s new? Well if you have a quality management system certified to ISO 9001:2015 you will be very familiar with the framework for the standard. They call this Annex SL and it provides the high- level structure, identical core text and common definitions. In plain English – it has the same clause numbers and titles as all ISO management systems, so your management system terminology all lines up. Leadership is a big focus of the ISO standards, so company owners and directors really need to show commitment to the process. Look, when it comes to the health and safety of employees, what boss doesn’t make it top priority?
Context of the Organisation is new to the health and safety standards. This is a requirement to understand requirements of interested parties and to monitor issues both internal and external. Planning of Risks and Opportunities is introduced in ISO 45001, with similar words to the other ISO standards but the focus on health and safety risks and opportunities. Other new requirements in the Operations area are concerning purchasing and contractors, and also managing change. The main point about ISO 45001 is that it’s a newly revised standard. AS/NZS 4801 hasn’t been reviewed since 2001, and even 18001 was last reviewed over 10 years ago. If you are looking at a new health and safety system, this is the standard to be looking at. If you have an existing system, now is the time to start planning the transition.