Requirements of
ISO 45001

The ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System is one of the most popular of all ISO standards.

Businesses choose to implement ISO 45001 because it helps them meet their legal and moral obligations and it’s good for business. The benefits far outweigh the costs.

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An Introduction to ISO 45001

There are a few things you can do to familiarise yourself with the basics of ISO 45001:


The Main Clauses of ISO 45001

  • Clause 1 – Scope

    This describes the scope of the ISO 45001 standard. It doesn’t outline any actual requirements.

  • Clause 2 – Normative references

    This clause identifies other standards and documents that relate to and are referenced within ISO 45001.

  • Clause 3 – Terms and definitions

    This explains certain key words and phrases that are used throughout the standard. It helps you understand some of the jargon.

  • Clause 4 – Context of the organisation

    Here is where you build a picture of the business environment in which you operate. You need to understand the internal and external issues that affect your ability to achieve your desired outcomes.

    • Determine the relevant external and internal factors that affect your organisation
    • Understand the needs and expectations of all interested parties including workers
    • A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis may prove useful
    • Establish the ‘scope’ of your system – what areas / operations within your organisation will be covered by the system
    • The requirement to establish, implement, maintain and continually improve your OHSMS is outlined
  • Clause 5 – Leadership and worker participation

    An OHSMS won’t work without commitment from top management. This is key to the success of your system and auditors will look for evidence of this. If you already have an ISO system such as ISO 14001 or ISO 9001, you should already have this covered. However, you’re required to take this further and pro-actively involve workers.

    • Top management must establish a policy and set objectives, for example to reduce risks
    • Top management must be directly involved and take overall responsibility – they cannot delegate
    • Top management need to create a culture that encourages workers to actively take part – health and safety cannot be the responsibility of one individual
    • Roles and responsibilities must be clear
    • Workers must be consulted and participate in the OHSMS

  • Clause 6 – Planning

    The system must be designed to achieve its intended outcomes and allow for continual improvement. To do this, you must plan effectively.

    This is critical to the management of risk. For example, this section outlines the need for hazard identification and for you to clearly understand your legal obligations. You must also have clear plans for emergencies.

    You must also show that you work toward identifying opportunities to improve performance.

  • Clause 7 – Support

    You need to make sure that the system is adequately resourced.

    • Employees must be aware of the OHSMS and their role within it
    • People must be competent in their roles
    • You must have effective communications
    • There’s a requirement to keep documents such as relevant procedures and reports but only proportionate to the size and complexity of your organisation

  • Clause 8 – Operation

    You need to demonstrate that you are in control of your OHSMS and risk management.

    • You need processes to eliminate hazards and reduce risk and plan for emergencies
    • You probably need some written procedures
    • Outsourced processes and contractors must be controlled
  • Clause 9 – Performance evaluation

    The only way to tell if your OHSMS is working and you are continually improving is to measure what you do.

    • Determine what needs to be monitored, how to monitor and when
    • You must include legal compliance
    • You must carry out internal audits
    • The results must be measured, analysed and evaluated
    • Top management must review the system and performance

  • Clause 10 – Improvement

    You must put things right when they go wrong. This is ‘corrective action’ which leads to continual improvement.