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Is ISO 45001 the final standard for Health and Safety Management?

Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards Twitter | Published on: Feb 12, 2016 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety

iso45001pngIn January 2016 the long-awaited publically available draft of ISO 45001 was released for comment. It is expected that the completed document will be ready by October 2016.

What is it?

ISO 45001 is an International Standard that specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, with guidance for its use, to enable organisations’ to proactively improve OH&S performance in preventing injury and ill-health. After a failure of previous attempts, it will be the first internationally-agreed health and safety management systems standard to apply to organisations across the world.

ISO 45001 is intended to be applicable to any organisation regardless of its size, type and nature. All of its requirements are intended to be integrated into an organisation’s own management processes.

Common Standards?

ISO 45001 will replace BS OHSAS 18001 which has been used as a standard by some organisations in the UK.

iso45001-2Last year also saw changes in the management standards for quality (ISO 9001) and environment (ISO 14001). Like 45001, these standards continue to follow the plan-do-check-act cycle. The aim has been to develop these standards so that they follow a common management structure so that organisations can develop these systems into one integrated management structure (IMS).

The problem is that accreditation to these standards has been often seen a self-sustaining paper exercise that is remote for actual working practices, especially in larger organisations. Also, a H&S management system is more difficult to relate to cost savings than environmental and quality systems. You can easily quantify energy savings and better quality products that produce more sales, but after accidents have been reduced, it is then difficult to quantify how many accidents are prevented.

So will the new ISO 45001 and its sister standards finally allow an integrated management approach? I am not so sure that it will and whether organisations will follow this route.

What about the new HSG 65?

HSG 65 is the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) guide for UK organisations on Managing for Health and Safety. In 2013 it was updated so that it also followed the plan-do-check-act principle.

iso45001-3This is a refreshing document and has some new concepts such as risk profiling which seem more relevant than most of the concepts in ISO 45001.

At Arinite, we have set up audit templates loosely based on both BS OHSAS 18001 and HSG 65 and unless our clients specifically request 18001, our default choice is the HSG 65 template.

Also, how can you go wrong by following the guidance issued by the HSE, the H&S enforcement authority in the United Kingdom?


There is no doubt that ISO 45001 is a talking point, but the anticipation of its success may be far greater than its usefulness after the final document is issued in October 2016.

In the meantime, we are working with HSG 65, which has received good feedback.

How Arinite can help

Arinite carries out audits and assessments based on either the principles of HSG 65 or BS OHSAS 18001 to suit our clients. We will be developing templates based on ISO 45001 once it is issued. If you want to find out more, just get in touch for an informal chat.

Contact us

Arinite clients appreciate we provide practical, no-nonsense advice about what you need to do to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. My team of health and safety consultants take pride in keeping health and safety simple.

If you need to call upon our expert assistance, or just for an informal chat, please call me on: mobile 0780 361 2948, office 0207 947 9581, or drop me a line at

Bryan Richards 9th February 2016

Arinite Ltd, Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT

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