ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety On its Way to Publication

By Meg Whynot-Young

Update 10/3/2017: There has been a a final approval stage (FDIS) slotted for November 2017, pushing the scheduled publication date back to March 2018.

What is ISO 45001?

In 2013, the International Labour Organization reported that there were 2.34 million deaths worldwide that were a result of work activities.  A vast majority of those fatalities were work-related illnesses (at 2 million).

ISO 45001 is a standard that is under development with the ISO for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management systems.  The purpose of the standard is to provide guidance to all employer organizations, regardless of size, industry or location, on implementing and maintaining an OH&S management system. An effective OH&S management system will track incident trends and incorporate that data that will inform improvements and changes to processes to improve safety and health.

Guidance for its use will be included in the standard so that organizations will have a clear picture of what the requirements of ISO 45001 are, and how to implement them within their own workplaces. It is designed to work within, or in conjunction with, a business’ management processes.

ISO standards are voluntarily adopted around the world, and are not enforced regulations. However, ISO standards are largely considered to represent benchmarks and best practices in quality, environmental, and information security management. In the development of the standard, regulations and other publications have been taken into consideration, such as OHSAS 18001. The ISO 45001 standard is currently on its second draft.

Who are the Participating Members?

69 countries are represented in the ISO/PC 283 as participating members, with another 15 observing members. ISO/PC 283 is the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) whose sole responsibility is the development of the ISO 45001 standard. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the organization that is representing the needs and views of U.S. stakeholders with regard to this standard.

The secretariat of the PC 283 committee is the British Standards Institution from the U.K.  France, Germany, Russian Federation, China, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Italy are all participating members of the committee as well.

Timeline and Steps to Publication

ISO standards follow a strict approval process before being published.

First, there is the preliminary stage, where a project is proposed and reviewed. The proposal stage is where the proposal for a new project is registered, and voted upon. Moving on to stage three (or 20 as it is listed on the ISO website), the preparatory stage begins the creation of the working draft document, with a comment period. The draft will then go through a cycle of review, comment, revisions, and voting until the project is either deleted or approved. Once the final draft has been approved, the standard will be published. Published standards are subject to periodic reviews, which can either trigger revisions or withdrawals of the standard.

ISO 45001 has had its second draft (or DIS) approved, which should be the final step before publication. In September, 2017, PC283 will determine if a final DIS (FDIS) will be necessary. Should they find a FDIS to be necessary it will push the publication back from the final quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018.

To learn more about ISO 45001 you can visit the ISO’s briefing notes on the standard, here.