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The latest stage in the development process of the ISO 45001 standard was reached on January 14, 2016 with the issuance of ISO/DIS 45001. This draft international standard describes the potential requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). It identifies the emerging changes expected to be in the final version of the standard, planned for publication in Q4 2016.

When it is finally issued, ISO 45001 will be the first ISO Standard for an OHSMS. ISO/DIS 45001 incorporates major stakeholder inputs and builds upon commonly used OHSAS 18001 specifications.

Annex SL Framework

ISO/DIS 45001 adopts the clause structure specified in Annex SL, which is now the required framework for all new and revised ISO management system standards. This ensures that the final version of ISO 45001 will be aligned with other management systems standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Using the Annex SL structure will ensure that OHSMS requirements are presented in a more consistent, rational manner that is closer to business language.

Other important changes proposed for ISO/DIS 45001 are:

  • A stronger focus on organizational context, with organizations required to consider what society expects from them in terms of occupational health and safety management
  • In Annex SL, the promotion of the application of risk based thinking in regard to the establishment, implementation and maintenance of the organization’s OHSMS itself, not just the occupational health and safety (OHS) risks
  • Placement of responsibility for an OHSMS on top management when previously, some organizations adopting an OHSMS were allowed to delegate responsibilities to health and safety managers
  • A requirement for organizations to account for how their suppliers and contractors manage risks
  • The replacement of the term “Documents and Records” with “Documented Information”, which allows for the use of electronic information not contained in a formal document system

Organizational Context

The intent of ISO DIS/45001 is to provide an organization with a high level, conceptual understanding of the important issues that can affect, either positively or negatively, how it manages its responsibilities toward people working under the control of its OHSMS.

Issues of interest are those that affect the organization’s ability to achieve its intended outcomes, including the objectives it has set for its OHSMS. These include meeting its OHS policy commitments.

An organization must determine which interested parties are relevant to its OHSMS, and it must determine the relevant requirements of those interested parties.

Risk Based Thinking

Closely aligned with the focus on organizational context is the requirement to adopt a risk based approach when developing and implementing an OHSMS. An organization must identify the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed to ensure that the OHSMS can achieve its intended outcomes, including those relevant to or determined by its organizational context. The organization must plan actions that address these risks and opportunities, integrate and implement them into its OHSMS processes and evaluate the effectiveness of these actions.

Leadership: Commitment from Senior Management

Top management must now demonstrate its involvement and engagement with the OHSMS through direct participation, taking OHS performance into account in strategic planning and communicating the importance of having an effective OHSMS and conforming to its requirements.

Top management must also contribute to the effectiveness of the OHSMS by playing an active role in directing and supporting persons in all functions and promoting and leading organizational culture with regard to the OHSMS.


An organization must ensure that outsourced processes affecting its OHSMS are defined and controlled. Suppliers and contractors are included in these processes whenever they are carried out at the workplace.


The term "documented information" replaces "documents and records". Evidence from processed information not held in a formal document system, such as electronic information held on smart phones and tablets, will now be accepted.

How can SGS help?

We can provide awareness training to help you to understand the requirements of ISO/DIS 45001, Annex SL and risk based thinking. On request, we will provide a gap analysis that delineates the changes you must make to migrate from OHSAS 18001 to ISO/DIS 45001.

Future Updates

National member bodies of ISO are currently in the middle of a three month review period for the DIS text of the standard. If the outcome is positive, the next step will be the issuance of a final draft international standard (FDIS).

A copy of the ISO/DIS 45001 standard can be purchased from the ISO Store.

The official ISO 45001 Working Group (ISO/PC 283) is responsible for developing and publishing the ISO 45001 standard.

We will issue further news and updates regarding the development of ISO 45001 and its publication schedule as they become available.

For more information, please contact:

Vivien Chan
International Marketing Manager
t: +603 2095 9200

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.