How to make the transition from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001

The new version of ISO 45001 was released in March 2018. If you are wondering about the next steps, and how to become compliant with the new version please contact Jeff Ayres and Associates and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We are based in the South East of England and cover a wide area: Essex, London, Sussex, Surrey, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire and more

ISO 45001:2018 brings some substantial changes compared to OHSAS 18001, but nothing that we cannot guide you through. With an organised approach to the transition project and the commitment from management, success is guaranteed.

The ISO organization stated that the transition period will take three years, so organizations may get their OHSAS 18001 certificates or have surveillance audits according to the old standard until March 12, 2021. Although, many organizations will try to catch up with the changes much sooner to demonstrate that they are keeping up to date.

These are the suggested steps in the transition and their order, for a successful transition to the new standard:


  • Define context of the organisation-This is a new requirement and requires special attention because it provides the basis for your new Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OH&SMS).


  • List all interested parties-Although it belongs to the same clause as Context of the organization, it is something new and should be considered carefully.


  • Review the scope of the OH&SMS-The transition is a good moment to consider your existing scope of the OH&SMS, since the credibility of your Occupational Health and Safety Management System depends on it.


  • Demonstrate leadership-Demonstrate even greater emphasis on the leadership through taking accountability for the OH&SMS, providing resources, and establishing an OH&S Policy and the objectives.


  • Align OH&S objectives with the company’s strategy-Your OH&SMS must be compatible with the strategic direction of the company, and the objectives must aim in the same direction as other activities in the company.


  • Assess risks and opportunities- According to the new standard, the risks and opportunities must be addressed. They focus on the ability of organisation to achieve intended results.


  • Identify and evaluate OH&S hazards-The transition is a great chance to revaluate your occupational health and safety hazards.


  • Determine the compliance obligations- The new standard also includes interested parties and their needs and expectations to be observed as compliance obligations.


  • Control documented information-Besides aligning your old procedures to the new clause numbers, the transition process should be used for improving your existing documentation.


  • Operational control-The new standard brings additional requirements for operational controls regarding management of changes, outsourcing, procurement, and contractors.


  • Performance evaluation-This means that you need to determine what you need to monitor, how, and how often. If you are familiar with key performance indicators, this change will be easy.


  • Measurement and reporting. The new standard strongly emphasizes the importance of measurement and reporting, especially regarding the above-mentioned performance evaluation.

The transition has ultimately been designed for improvement so please do not be overwhelmed by the changes and view this as a perfect opportunity for even greater integration of the OH&SMS with other business activities and to get ahead of your competition.

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