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ISO 45001:2018 Overview

Every day, thousands of lives are lost due to workplace accidents or fatal illnesses related to work activities. These are deaths that can and should have been prevented, and certainly must be prevented in the future. The aim of ISO 45001 is to help organizations do this.

In organizations, this standard aims to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees and visitors. To achieve this, it is very important to control all factors that might cause illness, injury, and in the case of extreme death, by reducing the adverse effects on one's physical, mental and cognitive conditions and ISO 45001 covering all of these aspects.

Although ISO 45001 refers to OHSAS 18001 - the first benchmark for occupational health and safety - this is a new and different standard, not a revision or renewal, and will gradually replace OHSAS 18001 for the next three years (March 2021). 

Therefore organizations need to revise their current working thoughts and practices to maintain organizational compliance.

What are the main differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001?

There are many differences, but the main change is that ISO 45001 concentrates on the interaction between the organization and its business environment while OHSAS 18001 focuses on managing health and safety hazards and other internal problems. 

These two standards also differ in many other ways, including:


  • Process-based ISO 45001, while OHSAS 18001 is procedure-based
  • ISO 45001 is dynamic in all clauses, while OHSAS 18001 is not
  • ISO 45001 considers risks & opportunities, while OHSAS 18001deals with risk 
  • ISO 45001 includes the views of interested parties, while OHSAS 18001 none.


These points represent significant changes that occur in how to perceive occupational health and safety management. Occupational health and safety are no longer "independent", but must be seen from the perspective of "running an organization" that is healthy and sustainable. However, although the two standards differ in terms of approach, the management system that has been established in accordance with OHSAS 18001 will be a strong platform for migrating to ISO 45001.