OHAS 18001 and ISO 45001 – What’s the Difference?

What is OHAS 18001?

OHAS 18001 was the internationally recognised management system for health and safety however it was replaced by ISO 45001 in 2021. The management system provided a framework for the correct management and addressed occupational health and safety but not any specific product safety matters.

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is the replacement of OHAS 18001. The new standard is the internationally recognised standard for occupational health and safety, The standard provides a framework for businesses to ensure the health and safety of employees and other stakeholders. ISO 45001 can be adopted by businesses of all sizes and in any industry.

Businesses become ISO 45001 certified because they wish to create a safer work environment, demonstrate their commitment to health and safety, and qualify for tenders and contracts.

What is the Difference?

OHAS 18001 solely focused on the potential risks in the workplace rather than the solutions which follow it whereas, ISO 45001 detects risks and evaluates how these hazards can be reduced.

ISO standards are revised by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). The ISO is a non-governmental, independent body that writes and publishes the standards and reviews them to identify opportunities to improve the standard.

The main difference between ISO 45001 and OHAS 18001 is that 45001 takes a proactive approach as opposed to a reactive one. It also requires that hazards and risks are evaluated and remedied before they cause accidents and injuries, while 18001 takes a reactive approach that focusses only on risks and not solutions.

Other differences include ISO 45001 having an increased focus on objectives as drivers for improvements and performance evaluation. These objectives can vary in topics such as the participation of workers, internal and external communication, and procurement.

Another key difference is the structure between the two standards. ISO 45001’s structure is based on Annex SL, which is the framework for other ISO management system standards. This framework makes it a lot easier and more efficient when it comes to implementing the system itself.

ISO 45001 places a stronger emphasis on top management to actively incorporate health and safety into the overall management system of the organisation. By coming from the top down, a safety mindset and culture is created with employees who will not only understand H&S processes better but value them too as they feel involved. The standard introduces enhanced focus on the needs and expectations of all employees and interested parties and requires employee training and education to spot risks. OHAS 18001 does not allow for broader employee participation.

The revised standard also ensures organisations determine, consider, and take action to address both risks and opportunities that may disrupt production. Although ISO 45001 considers both, OHAS 18001 deals exclusively with hazards.

What Changed?

The aim of ISO 45001 is to drive for improvement and assistance on ways in which you reduce accidents from happening to save your company’s employee wellbeing and safety costs. As OHAS 18001 only dealt with hazards, it was very brief and not nearly as specific as ISO 45001. The new standard takes action to risks and assists with the needs of workers.

Getting Started with ISO

Are you in need of support when it comes to health and safety management?  

Candy Management Consultants are a friendly team of experts within the ISO and Health and Safety industries. We serve clients nationwide and make sure all our services are provided promptly and have an 100% success rate.

If you want to prevent health and safety accidents, and meet stakeholder requirements, implement ISO 45001 into your company and receive the benefits.

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