Managing the Transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001

Outsource Safety LtdSafety newsManaging the Transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001
June 14, 2019 Posted by Roger Hart

Designing, implementing and maintaining management systems such as ISO45001 can seem daunting and time consuming.  Outsource Safety can help you and ensure that your systems are effective, efficient and focussed on your business risks and needs.

With an integrated management system, all the elements work together, with each function aligned behind a single goal; improving the performance of the entire organisation.  An IMS can benefit your organisation through increased efficiency and effectiveness and cost reductions, while minimising the disruption caused by numerous external audits.

We have proven expertise in:

  • ISO9001
  • ISO14001
  • ISO45001
  • ISO50001

Whether you are in construction/contracting; manufacturing/industrial; or administrative we can help with:

  • Design and implementation of integrated management systems
  • Internal audit
  • Management Review
  • Training and awareness
  • Transition to new standards

Transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001 – when do I have to do it?

OHSAS18001 will cease to exist in March 2021….so you will have to go through the transition process well before then to ensure continuity of certification.  The date sounds a long way off, but don’t forget you will have to plan and implement the transition, ensure that you have sufficient documented evidence in place, then get your certification body in to audit the system.  It is wise to allow some contingency time too, in case there are any issues to be put right at the final audit.  Each certification body will have its own process for transition, so it’s worth talking to them to ensure the process runs smoothly.  Also, it is likely that the certification auditors will be very busy in the immediate run up to the deadline, so get the dates booked in as soon as you can.

So, even though you have nearly 2 years to complete the transition process, it will need to be carefully planned.

Transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001 – what are the differences?

The new ISO45001 standard is in the Annex-SL format – that is consistent with ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO50001 and many other international standards.  If you are familiar with the Annex -SL format through working with other Standards, you will already have a good idea about the structure and this will make the task easier.  However, it is often easier to concentrate on the differences, rather that recognise the similarities between the Standards, you can view more information on th standard here:

The key areas of difference are

  • Leadership: It needs to be demonstrated that top management are fully committed to and understand the management system.  This goes well beyond attendance at an annual management review meeting!
  • Context: It has to be established what the strategic risks and opportunities are for the organisation and understand the entire environment in which the organisation operates, including the needs and expectations of workers
  • Worker participation and consultation
  • Identification and resolution of root causes following failures (not just accidents)
  • Integration of safety and health into business processes and systems.

Transition from OHSAS18001 to ISO45001 – how can I maximise the benefits (and minimise the work!)?

Consider the transition process as an opportunity to improve what you do and how you do it, rather than a problem to be solved.  Everything that you do should be based around the risks and needs of your business.  The new format of the Standards is less prescriptive with regards to documentation, so there should be no need to generate loads more paperwork.

But the biggest opportunity comes with the potential to integrate your management systems.  In fact this is a requirement of the Standard, but allows you to make it more effective and more efficient.  Do away with duplicated processes, systems and paperwork.  This will allow you to focus on what is really important for your business and drive improvement.  Do not look at health and safety management in isolation.