A global management system Standard to prioritise the health and safety of workers.

Why was there a need for a global OH&S Standard?

People are the core of any organization. Their motivation and commitment allow businesses to thrive, with happy and healthy employees greatly contributing to ongoing success in any industry. Not only would these organizations flourish, they're also likely to see longer staff retention rates, high productivity and a drive to continually learn and develop skills. 

There was a gap in knowledge for many companies, who needed guidance to support their employees the best they could. ISO 45001 was able to create comprehensive health and safety guidelines that could translate into all industries and allows for a consistent approach globally. 

What is the ISO 45001 Standard? 

ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements with guidance for use helps organizations place fundamental physical, mental and cognitive health strategies at its core. It enables organizations to provide safe and healthy work environments. This is achieved through preventing work-related injuries while also taking an ongoing, proactive approach in improving health and safety performance. 

How does ISO 45001 work? 

ISO 45001 is process based, not procedure based. Processes consist of many functions and defines step-by-step actions essential to accomplish the task at hand, whereas procedures outline a specific step. 

It follows the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) methodology, using a proactive approach to health and safety at the workplace. ISO 45001 framework implementation must include identification of risks and opportunities as well as processes to address them with defined objectives. 

In order to help prevent work-related injuries and poor physical and mental health, this OH&S Standard breaks up the process into sections. The sections are as follows: 

  • Section 1: Scope 

  • Section 2: Normative References 

  • Section 3: Terms and Definitions 

  • Section 4: Context of the Organization 

  • Section 5: Leadership and Worker Participation 

  • Section 6: Planning 

  • Section 7: Support 

  • Section 8: Operation 

  • Section 9: Performance Evaluation 

  • Section 10: Improvement 


It requires a multi-level approach in discussions, including leaders and non-managerial workers (or someone who represents them). Implementation of this Standards requires support company-wide, with support from leadership essential. 

OH&S risks 

Depending on the industry, occupational health and safety risks vary greatly. Identifying hazards in the workplace should use a wide scope. Main areas of concern include: 

  • Physical, e.g. slips and falls

  • Chemical, e.g. inhalation

  • Biological, e.g. contact with allergens 

  • Psychosocial, e.g. bullying and intimidation 

  • Ergonomic, e.g. repetitive movements 

Benefits of ISO 45001 

As employees will always be the heart of an organization, putting workers first in a safe workplace provides benefits across the board. 

Managers and leaders can better address personal health and safety concerns to individuals. This includes both physical and mental health, which gives workers an avenue to express their thoughts while managers can harness strategies to assist.  

Using ISO 45001 also helps put prevention as the preferred strategy to combat hazards and risks. While reactive strategies may work in some cases, preventing risks once they have been identified allows the ability to understand what to look out for and act swiftly before harm my occur. 

As it is an internationally recognized management Standard, it is highly regarded around the world. It means that you're not only taking employee's health seriously but sets you apart from competitors who don't follow this best practice guidance. 

How ISO 45001 works with other management Standards 

ISO 45001 was created with common elements from significant ISO management Standards, meaning that its compatible with ISO 9001 Quality management systems and ISO 14001 Environmental management systems

This OH&S Standard can be used as a whole to assist with identifying and preventing risks, as well as in part to systematically improve employee health and safety. You can also view all popular management Standards

What is the difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001? 

You may be familiar with OHSAS 18001, the now superseded international Standard for workplace health and safety. The main differences between OHSAS 18001 and the newer ISO 45001 are that OHSAS 18001 mainly focuses on occupational risks and hazards and other internal issues, whereas ISO 45001 takes a holistic approach, focusing on risks and opportunities concentrating on the interaction between an organization and its business environment. 

Put those who are in contact with your organization first with an internationally recognized health and safety management system, helping create a safe, transparent and supportive environment. 

Standards directing the way for sustainable and resilient cities

Health and safety guidelines tailored for COVID-19 work conditions

Discover popular international management Standards applicable to all organisations

Discover a free alert service sending notifications when your important Standards change

Looking to manage your essential Standards? Discover how i2i can transform your Standards management.
Find out more