BS OHSAS 18001
Before 1999, organizations had to choose from a range of national health and safety standards and proprietary certification schemes. But this led to confusion and fragmentation in the market,
while undermining the credibility of individual schemes and creating potential trade barriers.
Drawing on the best of these existing standards and schemes, the OHSAS Project Group published the OHSAS 18000 Series in 1999. The Series had two specifications:
- 18001 focused on the requirements for an effective OHS management system, while 18002 offered practical implementation guidelines.
- By 2005 around 16,000 organizations in more than 80 countries were using OHSAS 18001.
In July 2007, the OHSAS 18001 specification was updated and more closely aligned with the framework of other management system standards such as ISO 14001. This helped organizations to bring their existing management systems more easily in line with the standard.
Even though various parties have expressed the need for an international health and safety standard for some time, many global organizations were concerned about how it would affect and work with their local regulations.
To address these challenges and protect workers around the world, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is a key player in the development of ISO 45001.
Why the world needs ISO 45001
Every day across the globe, horrific statistics for health and safety incidents, accidents and their related costs are recorded. Although companies tend to use generic health and safety guidelines or national and consortia standards, none of these demonstrate global conformity.
A recent OHSAS Standards and Certificates Survey has shown a rapid increase in the use of OHSAS 18001 and other equivalent standards over the last decade.
With over 127 countries currently using these standards, there’s a worldwide need to harmonize health and safety management systems using an international standard and share best practices.
Making a global difference
The need for an international standard in this field can be seen at local, national, regional and global levels – applying to both developing and developed countries. With an international standard to refer to together with the right infrastructure and training, these organizations will be able to address their risks better in future.
More and more companies also want detailed information about their suppliers’ occupational health and safety practices to protect their brands. This motivates suppliers to implement better and internationally recognized systems to establish good health and safety practices.
Third party certification helps to demonstrate that a business is meeting its requirements effectively whilst the process of achieving and maintaining certification helps ensure that it is continually improving across all areas of the organization.
ISO 45001 will support new areas of management systems to ensure better compatibility and systems governance, making the implementation within an organization a lot smoother. Once published, the standard will apply to any organization wishing to:
- Establish and implement an internationally recognized occupational health and safety management system to reduce or minimize risks to personnel and other relevant parties
- Maintain and constantly improve their health and safety performance
- Keep all operations in line with their stated health and safety policies to an internationally recognized standard
The following timeline gives an idea of what will happen in next two years:
Although the project committee is using BS OHSAS 18001 as the model for ISO 45001, they are still subjected to the consensus approach used to develop all new ISO standards.
The project committee has produced ISO 45001’s first working draft in October 2013.
They also created an outline project plan for the rest of their meetings and the remaining drafts – all in line with standard ISO procedures.
- 4th Quarter – 2014 – working draft to be distributed for comment
- 4th quarter – 2015 – final draft to be released
- 2016 – new standard – ISO 45001 – to be published
Over the next three years, they will meet a number of times to develop the standard further and make sure all the countries involved with this work agree.
The draft standard will be made available at the DIS and FDIS stage when interested parties can review and register their comments via their respective National Standards Body.