ISO 45001:2018

ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management

ISO 45001:2018 specifies the requirements for an occupational health and safety management system (at work) - OH&S, being the first ISO standard adopted for this field to respond to global challenges (the global failure regarding the safety of workers at work). According to ILO (International Labor Organization) statistics, over 2.78 million workers die annually in the world from accidents or occupational diseases, that is, over 7,600 deaths daily; the economic costs of ineffective occupational health and safety practices amount to 3.94% of global gross domestic product each year (

ISO 45001 aims to ensure safe and healthy workplaces, prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, and continuously improve the organization's OH&S performance.

The implementation and certification of the occupational health and safety management system in accordance with the ISO 45001:2018 standard demonstrates the organization's commitment to the protection of workers at work, to the improvement of the quality of life through the implementation of its policy and objectives in the field of OH&S, taking into account the requirements of the parties interested parties, the dangers and OH&S risks generated by their own activity, their impacts on the health and safety of workers, but also the risks and opportunities associated with the context of the organization, in order to develop the business in the long term and to achieve the desired sustainable development in the social field.

ISO 45001:2018 emphasizes:

the role of top management, which must demonstrate leadership by assuming legal responsibility, by preventing work accidents and occupational diseases, by ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, by creating and promoting a culture that supports the improvement of OH&S and OH&S performance, the elimination or minimization of OH&S risks; the commitment of management from the highest level determines the success of the OH&S management system; through this commitment, organizations can prevent work accidents or minimize the effects of occupational diseases, they can improve the quality of life of workers.

the context of the organization and taking into account the points of view of the workers and interested parties;

the consultation and participation of workers regarding the identification of OH&S hazards and risks and the development and operation of the OH&S management system;

communication, both internal and external;

the application of "a hierarchy of controls" in order to effectively eliminate problems in an optimal time;

implementing a process for evaluating compliance with legal and other applicable requirements;

proactive improvement and evaluation of OH&S performance.

ISO 45001:2018 promotes the adoption of risk-based thinking, takes into account both OH&S specific risks and opportunities as well as other risks and opportunities whose identification, but especially the adoption of measures to treat risks, determines the increase in the organization's performance and the prevention of unwanted effects. One of the key purposes of an OH&S management system implemented starting from risk-based thinking is to act as a prevention tool. It also contains explicit requirements for operational hazard control and change management.

ISO 45001:2018, structured according to the PDCA Cycle („Plan-Do-Check-Act”), promotes the adoption of the process-based approach for the effective documentation, implementation and improvement of the occupational health and safety management system. The procedural approach involves the systematic definition and management of all the processes in the organization and the interactions between the processes in order to fulfill the organization's objectives in accordance with the OH&S policy.


The ISO 45001:2018 standard was adopted for the following reasons:

  • the need for an international standard in this field (there were 40 variants of the OHSAS 18001 standard, this not being an approved ISO standard established by consensus);
  • the need to respond to global challenges (large number of work accidents or occupational diseases worldwide);
  • integration with other standards for management systems (quality, environment, information security, etc.);
  • adoption of Annex SL (High Level Structure) and its terminology;
  • introducing new concepts related to OH&S (opportunities related to risk prevention, risk-based thinking, leadership, organizational culture, proactive improvement).

The structure and terminology adopted by the ISO 45001:2018 standard is in accordance with Annex SL of the ISO Directives - High-level structure, identical base text, common terms and basic definitions – developed by JTCG (Joint Technical Coordination Group), annex which:

  • aligns the format, text, terms and definitions used by all management system standards including IWA documents (International Workshop Agreement);
  • allows the addition of specific requirements for each standard.