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The latest update on ISO 45001

By Linda Jackson on 03 April 2017

The development of the new ISO standard for occupational health and safety has been a bumpy ride. ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001 as the internationally acknowledged standard for Occupational Health and Safety management systems. The participating members of the ISO committee did not approve the first Draft International Standard (DIS), causing a delay in its release. According to DNV, some of the concerns of the member bodies disapproving of the DIS version were related to the following issues:

  • Minor changes needed to some key ‘Terms and Definitions’ such as the definitions relating to  ‘worker’, ‘participation’ and the definition of hazard.

  • Minor changes were also proposed relating to areas such as ‘Participation and consultation’, ‘awareness’ and ‘the hierarchy of controls’.

  • How the memorandum of understanding between ISO and ILO  and the ILS (International Labour Standards on Occupational Safety and Health) was taken into account in the DIS ISO 45001.

  • The discussion and unclearness as to how ISO 45001 can require compliance to legal and other requirements under the ISO general rules.

The standard has generated a considerable amount of international debate with 3000 comments made to the first DIS version. At this stage it seems the second draft international standard may released in April 2017 at the earliest for comments and voting. The results of the ballot should be known by the end of July 2017 with the results of this being reviewed in September 2017.


If DIS2 is approved and the final draft international standard (FDIS) stage is not required, publication of the new standard could be as early as November 2017.


However, if an FDIS is required, the publication is more likely to be in Q2 2018.


At this point it is likely that OHSAS 18001 will be withdrawn and organizations currently certified to OHSAS 18001 will have a three year period to migrate to ISO 45001.

Although there is debate on the technicalities, one thing is clear, ISO 45001 will follow the structure of the High level standard which means there will be 10 sections and the structure of the standards will follow that of the new ISO 9001. You can start working on integrating the common requirements in the mean time.




Latest update on ISO 45001 as of February 2017