ISO

Difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001

calendar31 Aug, 2022
timeReading Time: 7 Minutes
OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001

Since 1999, OHSAS 18001[1] has been a recognised Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OH&SMS) Standard, and 19 years later, it was replaced by a new ISO Standard, ISO 45001. This blog will explain the most significant difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001

Introduction to OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001

OHSAS in the OHSAS 18001 stands for the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series. It provides a framework for effective management of OH&S, including all aspects of risk management and legal compliance. OHSAS is a British standard but has been accepted globally. Its first edition was issued in 1999, and its second was issued in 2007. OHSAS 18001 was valid up to 12th March 2021. 

ISO 45001 is the ISO standard for management systems of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), issued in March 2018. ISO 45001 focuses on reducing occupational injuries and diseases, including promoting and protecting physical and mental health.

Replacement of OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 introduction: Reasons

There are several reasons for the replacement of OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001’s introduction, and some of them are as follows:

  • Improving occupational health and safety 

To help businesses gain further improvement in occupational health and safety performances. 

  • Helping organisations in becoming more efficient  

This new ISO standard is introduced to help organisations improve their approach to management systems, so the businesses having ISO 9001 and/or ISO 14001 can integrate ISO 45001, allowing efficiencies in system management. 

  • Helping organisations in becoming more ethical 

The standard is for improvement, encouraging organisations to be more aware of their more expansive environments. Organisations have to consider their supply chain more closely and get into greater detail about their work’s impact on the community or society. 

Significant differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001

There are unavoidable differences, but the main change is that ISO 45001 concentrates on the interaction between the organisation and its business environment, while OHSAS was more focused on managing (Occupational Health and Safety) OH&S hazards and other internal issues.

Few other diversions of the ISO 45001 standard are as follows:

  • ISO 45001 is process based while OHSAS is procedure based
  • ISO 45001 is dynamic in all clauses, but OHSAS is not 
  • ISO 45001 considers both the opportunities and the risks, while OHSAS 18001 only deals with risks
  • ISO 45001 includes views of interested parties, but the OHSAS does not 

Here is the list of significant differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001:

Structure 

The first significant difference is the structure of the standard; ISO 45001 is based on the Annex SL framework. 

Annex SL provides a high-level structure for ISO management systems standards. It has replaced the ISO Guide 83 and expanded the base structure already implemented. 

Annex SL encourages standardisation and helps integration amongst multiple ISO standards. Under this, there are ten clauses, and they are as follows:

  1. Scope 
  2. Normative References 
  3. Terms and Definitions 
  4. Context of the Organisation 
  5. Leadership 
  6. Planning 
  7. Support 
  8. Operation 
  9. Performance Evaluation 
  10. Improvement

Process-based Approach in ISO 45001 

The second significant difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 is that OHSAS 18001 was a procedure-based standard while ISO 45001 is a process-based standard. The process approach is an elemental core of ISO’s view of a Management System.

The process is by which an input is converted to desirable outputs. So, the ISO Management System considers organisations a series of interactions amongst multiple functions. 

As per ISO 45001, OHS is considered a single process, receiving inputs from multiple functions to achieve desirable OH&S outputs. The approach of process introduces horizontal management, crossing the barriers between different functional units and unifying their focus to the main aim of the organisation, while the OHSAS 18001 promotes a procedural approach and it does not focus on multiple function process interaction.

Focus on Opportunity along with Risks 

Approach towards Risk is one of the most significant differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001. OHSAS 18001 used to focus on risk and control methods, whereas this new ISO 45001 focuses more on Risk and opportunities for improvement.

Earlier in OHSAS 18001, process was more inclined toward focusing on the existing risks and controlling them, while ISO 45001 focuses on identifying potential opportunities along with risk identification to improve organisational health and safety systems.

Increased focus on top management commitment 

ISO 45001 focuses more on top management, and so the involvement and commitment have increased. OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 both focus on top management, and it is not that the top management commitments were not required as per the OHSAS 18001, but the ISO 45001 press more upon it.

In OHSAS 18001, major activities of standard implementation are delegated by the top management to a single individual or safety manager. However, this delegation is not supported under ISO 45001. 

This shift is a clear reflection that the term Management Commitment has been replaced by Leadership and Commitment. Increased focus on top management involvement is an essential change. The most successful implementation of any management system depends on the top management’s involvement. 

Worker Involvement 

A person performing work or any activity related to work under the organisation’s control is called a worker. Such a person is paid or unpaid. Workers include top management, managerial and non-managerial posts. 

In clause 5 of ISO 45001, there is a special mention of worker participation. This clause promotes worker participation and consultation in the standard implementation. Consultation means seeking inputs or views before making decisions for workers.  

ISO 45001 standard implementation directly impacts these workers; thus, seeking their input is true on logical grounds. ISO 45001 standard is also highlighting this need further. 

Terminology 

There are specific definitions of a few terms which are not included in OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 includes them:

  • Worker

A person performing work- or work-related activities under the control of the organisation. It can be regular or temporary, paid or unpaid workers.

It includes workers from external providers such as contractors, individuals or over whom the organisation has some control. 

  • Workplace 

The place under the control of an organisation where a person needs to be or go by reason of work.

  • Contractor

An external organisation is providing services to organisations at the workplace according to the agreed specifications, terms and conditions. These services include construction activities.  

  • Interested Party 

Person or organisation that affects to be affected by or perceives itself to be affected by a decision or activity. 

  • Participation 

Participation means the involvement of workers in decision-making.

  • Consultation 

Consultation under ISO 45001 means seeking views in making decisions.

  • Injury and ill health 

The meaning of injury and ill health is the adverse effect of a person’s physical, mental or cognitive condition. 

  • Risk

The main difference between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 is the Risk, which means the effects of uncertainty. 

  • Occupational Health and Safety Management Risk

Combination of the likelihood of the occurrence of work related to hazardous events and exposures and severity of injuries and health issues that are caused by the event or exposure. 

OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 Matrix

Here is matrix of differences between the clauses of OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001:

ISO 45001 OHSAS 18001
Clause 1 SCOPE Clause 1 SCOPE
Clause 2 NORMATIVE REFERENCES Clause 2 REFERENCE PUBLICATION
Clause 3 TERMS AND DEFINITIONS Clause 3 TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
Clause 4 CONTEXT OF THE ORGANIZATION  The clause does not exist
4.1 Understanding the organization & its context The clause does not exist
4.2 Understanding needs and expectations of the interested parties The clause does not exist
4.3 Determining scope of the OH & S management system 4.1 General requirements
4.4 OH & S management system 4.1 General requirements
Clause 5 LEADERSHIP The clause does not exist
5.1 Leadership and commitment 4.4.1 Resources, roles, responsibility, accountability, and authority
5.2 OH & S policy 4.2 OH&S policy
5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities 4.4.1 Resources, roles, responsibility, accountability and authority, paragraph-2. b & 3 to 6
5.4 Consultation and participation of workers 4.4.3.2 Participation and consultation
Clause 6 PLANNING Clause 4.3 PLANNING
6.1 Actions to address risks & opportunities (Title) The clause does not exist
6.1.1 General The clause does not exist
6.1.2 The Hazard Identification and assessment of risks and opportunities 4.3.1 Hazard identification, risk assessment, and determining controls
6.1.3 Determination of legal requirements and other requirements 4.3.2 Legal and other requirements
6.1.4 Planning action 4.3.1 Hazard identification, risk assessment, and determining controls
6.2 OH & S objectives and planning to achieve them The clause does not exist
6.2.1 OH & S objectives 4.3.3 Objectives and programme(s), paragraph-1 to 3
6.2.2 Planning actions to achieve OH & S objectives 4.3.3 Objectives and programme(s), paragraph-4 & 5
Clause 7 SUPPORT  Clause 4.4 IMPLEMENTATION AND OPERATION 
7.1 Resources 4.4.1 Resources, roles, responsibility, accountability and authority
7.2 Competence 4.4.2 Competence, training & awareness
7.3 Awareness 4.4.2 Competence, training & awareness
7.4 Communication  4.4.3 Communication, participation & consultation 
7.4.1 General 4.4.3.1 Communication
7.4.2 Internal Communication      The clause does not exist
7.4.3 External Communication The clause does not exist
7.5 Documented information   
7.5.1 General 4.4.4 Documentation
7.5.2 Creating and updating 4.4.5 Control of documents
7.5.2 Creating and updating 4.5.4 Control of records
7.5.3 Control of documented information 4.4.5 Control of documents
7.5.3 Control of documented information 4.5.4 Control of records
7.5.3 Control of documented information 4.4.5 Control of documents
7.5.3 Control of documented information 4.5.4 Control of records
Clause 8 OPERATION  Clause 4.4 IMPLEMENTATION AND OPERATION 
8.1 Operational planning and control 4.4.6 Operational control
8.2 Emergency preparedness and response 4.4.7 Emergency preparedness and response
Clause 9 PERFORMANCE EVALUATION  Clause 4.5 CHECKING 
9.1 Monitoring, measuring, analysis and evaluation (Title) The clause does not exist
9.1.1 General 4.5.1 Performance measurement and monitoring
9.1.2 Evaluation of compliance 4.5.2 Evaluation of compliance
9.2 Internal audit The clause does not exist
9.2.1 General 4.5.5 Internal audit
9.2.2 Internal audit programme 4.5.5 Internal audit
9.3 Management review 4.6 Management review
Clause 10 IMPROVEMENT The clause does not exist
10.1 General The clause does not exist
Clause does not exist 4.5.3 Incident investigation, NC, CA & PA 
10.2 Incident, Nonconformity & corrective action, paragraph-1, 2 4.5.3.1 Incident investigation, paragraph-1 to 3
10.2 Incident, Nonconformity & corrective action, paragraph-1, 2 4.5.3.2 Nonconformity, CA and PA
10.2 Incident, Nonconformity & corrective action, paragraph-3 4.5.3.1 Incident investigation, paragraph-4
10.3 Continual improvement The clause does not exist

Conclusion 

Despite the same standard, there are several differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001. So, the standard remains the same, but the structure has changed in ISO 45001 from the earlier OHSAS 18008 standard. The new ISO standard provides a process structure with its essential requirement. It is more documentation friendly and has new requirements for top management in terms of demonstrating leadership and commitment; it also encourages a positive Occupational Health and Safety culture in the organisation. They both focus on Risk with a different approach; OHSAS was more inclined toward hazards while ISO 45001 is more inclined towards identifying and controlling Risk. So, it can be concluded that between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001, the latter is a better version of the OH&S standard.

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