Differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001

Two of the most widely recognized OH&S management standards are ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001. Both standards provide a framework for organizations to develop and implement an effective OH&S management system. However, there are some key differences between the two standards. In this article, we will compare and contrast ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001. We will discuss the similarities and differences between the two standards, and we will provide guidance on which standard is right for your organization.

Differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001
Differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001

1. Introduction

ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001 are both occupational health and safety management systems (OH&SMS) standards that organizations can use to improve their health and safety performance. ISO 45001 is the newer standard, and it is designed to replace OHSAS 18001.

2. Similarities

Both ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001 share many similarities. Both standards require organizations to:

  • Establish a health and safety policy
  • Identify and assess hazards and risks
  • Implement controls to mitigate risks
  • Monitor and review their OH&SMS

Goal: Both standards aim to create a framework for organizations to manage OHS risks and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.

Structure: Both standards follow the Annex SL high-level structure, making it easier for organizations to integrate OHS with other management systems like ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment).

3. Differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001

Differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001
Differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001

There are also some key differences between the two standards. These differences include:

  • Approach: ISO 45001 takes a more proactive approach to OH&SMS management. It requires organizations to focus on preventing hazards and risks before they occur. OHSAS 18001, on the other hand, takes a more reactive approach. It focuses on controlling hazards and risks after they have been identified.
  • Scope: ISO 45001 has a broader scope than OHSAS 18001. It covers all aspects of occupational health and safety, including physical, mental, and social well-being. OHSAS 18001 focuses primarily on physical safety.
  • Structure: ISO 45001 is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. This cycle provides a structured approach to continuous improvement. OHSAS 18001 is not based on a specific management system model.

4. Table of Differences

The following table summarizes the key differences between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001:

Characteristic ISO 45001 OHSAS 18001
Approach Proactive Reactive
Scope Broad Narrow
Structure PDCA Not specified
Requirements More detailed Less detailed
Implementation More complex Less complex

ISO 45001 is a more comprehensive and proactive standard than OHSAS 18001. It is designed to help organizations to improve the safety and well-being of their workers. Organizations that are currently certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to transition to ISO 45001 by March 31, 2023.

5. Frequently asked questions

Question 1: What is ISO 45001, and how does it differ from OHSAS 18001?

Answer: ISO 45001 is an international standard for occupational health and safety management systems. It supersedes OHSAS 18001 and incorporates a more risk-based approach, emphasizing leadership involvement, and employee participation.

Question 2: How has the structure of ISO 45001 changed compared to OHSAS 18001?

Answer: ISO 45001 follows the Annex SL high-level structure, making it consistent with other ISO management system standards. OHSAS 18001 did not have this standardized structure.

Question 3: What are the key differences in the focus of ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001?

Answer: ISO 45001 places a stronger emphasis on the context of the organization, interested parties, and a risk-based approach, whereas OHSAS 18001 focused more on hazard identification and risk control.

Question 4: How does ISO 45001 address the concept of “leadership” differently from OHSAS 18001?

Answer: ISO 45001 emphasizes the active involvement of top management in the integration of occupational health and safety into the organization’s business processes, whereas OHSAS 18001 had a more general requirement for management commitment.

Question 5: In terms of documentation, how do the requirements of ISO 45001 compare to OHSAS 18001?

Answer: ISO 45001 is less prescriptive about documentation, allowing organizations more flexibility. OHSAS 18001 had specific documentation requirements, such as a health and safety manual.

Question 6: How has the approach to risk assessment and management changed in ISO 45001 compared to OHSAS 18001?

Answer: ISO 45001 adopts a broader perspective on risk, integrating it into the entire management system. OHSAS 18001 focused more on hazard identification and control, with less emphasis on a comprehensive risk-based approach.

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