The Wait for ISO 45001 is Over

For a long time, I've been hearing this standard described as a true and much-needed game changer for workplace safety and health.

As we were completing this issue, the international safety management standard ISO 45001 reached the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) stage, which meant interested parties were invited to comment on the draft until Jan. 25, 2018, before its final publication. It currently exists as ISO/FDIS 45001:2017, Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements with guidance for use.

ANSI posted an announcement that said voting on ISO/FDIS 45001:2017 began on Nov. 11, 2017, and would end Jan. 25, with final publication of ISO 45001 expected in March 2018.

For a long time, I've been hearing this standard described as a true and much-needed game changer for workplace safety and health. Last June, as Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH, was ending his year as ASSE president at Safety 2017, one of the accomplishments he cited was the society's investments to be ready to help companies comply with ISO 45001, which Cecich said is likely to be the most significant safety standard of the past 50 years. ASSE is the administrator of the U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) that developed the U.S. position on the standard; the group has been working on the proposed standard for four years.

Victor M. Toy, CSP, CIH, as chair of the U.S. TAG, agreed in an article1 he wrote for the ASSE Management Practice Specialty's The Compass in August 2016. He called it the "first true global consensus standard developed by ISO member countries with important contributions from key liaison organizations including ILO" and predicted it "will be the foundation for managing safety and health performance around the world."

ISO 45001 is intended to replace OHSAS 18001. It shares about 50 percent of the same language that is in two well-regarded ISO standards, ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 9001 (quality management), Toy's article pointed out.

If you've been patiently waiting for this one, congratulations, because your wait is almost done. If you haven't been, please educate yourself about the standard and consider implementing it in your own organization—and you can begin with the two reference websites listed below.

References
1. https://www.asse.org/assets/1/7/TheCompass_0816OHSMS.pdf
2. http://iso45001.asse.org/

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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