ISO 45001:2018 specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, and gives guidance for its use, to enable organisations to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health, as well as by proactively improving its OH&S performance.

Erin Thomas, HSE (health, safety and environmental) coordinator at RSS, said: “It made sense for us to migrate early, as our 18001 certification would have expired this year. It’s notable that 45001 pays closer attention to the identification and evaluation of risk versus the previous certification that was more predominantly concerned with the control of hazards, for example.”

RSS has held OHSAS 18001 certification since December 2013; it covers activities at the company’s de facto headquarters in Pyle, Wales but, as Thomas said, its five other facilities are closely audited to ensure they meet the same management system standards. ISO 45001:2018 is applicable to the OH&S risks under an organisation’s control, taking into account factors such as the context in which it operates and the needs and expectations of its workers and other interested parties.

Steve Hutin, managing director at RSS, with the ISO 45001:2018 certificate.
Steve Hutin, managing director at RSS, with the ISO 45001:2018 certificate.

Steve Hutin, managing director at RSS, said: “Practically, ISO [International Organization for Standardization] provides strategic tools that reduce costs by minimising waste and errors, and increase productivity. Certification from a body that provides world-class specifications serves as endorsement of our commitment to provide the safest possible working environment for staff, clients and anyone who interacts with our company. We go beyond legal obligations to ensure that health and safety is embedded into every process.”

RSS works closely with global certification body NQA, which conducts annual audits to ensure it remains in adherence with ISO criteria. Thomas explained that a longer-term cycle involves a full recertification audit every third year—a requirement of ISO 45001:2018. She said: “As NQA reiterates, while [ISO] 45001 is heavily informed by [OHSAS] 18001, it is a new standard—not a simple revision or brief update—and requires our closest attention in every working practice.”

NQA focuses on the ultimate goal of helping businesses provide a healthy and safe working environment for their employees and everyone else who visits the workplace. This, it advocates, can be achieved by controlling factors that could potentially lead to injury, illness and, in extreme situations, even death.

Thomas said: “The ongoing process is extensive and includes OH&S policy; defined organisational roles, responsibilities and authorities; identification of risks and opportunities; risk assessment and safe working procedures; objectives and plans; and emergency preparedness and response. All [RSS] employees play a role in implementing and maintaining the system, but top management holds overall responsibility for ensuring that requirements are met. I serve in an assisting capacity as we meet objectives related to working environments and physical or financial resources.”

Organisations that currently hold OHAS 18001 certification have until 11th March 2021 to complete a successful migration.