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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Thornhill

How To Transition To ISO 45001:2018

In this video, we're going to take you through the steps to take if you've got an existing safety management system and want to transition to ISO 45001 - the new Safety Management System standard.

ISO Hasn't Reinvented The Wheel

If you've got a current safety system that you want to transition into ISO 45001, ISO has been very open in saying that their standard has been developed with the other standards in mind. This includes OHSAS 18001 (The British Safety Management Standard), and AS 4801 (The Australia and New Zealand Standard.

If you've got an existing safety management system based on these standards, many concepts and requirements you're familiar with are transferred into this new system. This includes:

  • The systematic approach of Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)

  • Concepts of continual improvement

  • Corrective Action

  • Internal Audit

  • Incident Reporting

Although the new ISO45001 standard is based around these previous standards, it does introduce some new and modified requirements. If you would like a detailed explanation of the differences, you can find a download on our free resources page, which outlines ISO 45001 Compared to AS 4801 and OHSAS.

Steps You Can Take To Transition To ISO 45001

1. Understand Changes and New Focus Areas

If you are a member of the compliance team, it is crucial that you get a thorough understanding of the changes between your existing standard and the focus area.

2. Educate The Top Management Team

We then encourage you to start educating and consulting within your business. Inform the top management team on what the changes are, particularly around some of the top management accountabilities and their role in a safety management system.

When educating operational staff, be aware that ISO 45001 has a very strong focus on consultation and participation. This can relate to the design of the system and processes for identifying hazards, risks, and controls.

3. Gap Analysis & Action Plan

Example of how to carry out a gap analysis:

Take the requirements of ISO 45001 and build an audit checklist around that, where in the first column you can put the requirements of ISO 45001. This example is talking about requirement 7.2 - Competence. You can then identify what you already have in your current safety management system that aligns with the requirement. You will also discover gaps where you do not have processes in place that will help meet the desired requirements.

Once you've completed that assessment, take all those gaps and turn them into an action plan. It gives you a much clearer indication of the scope of work involved in transitioning between the new standards.

4. Contact The Certification Body

You then need to contact your certification body and request that on your next audit, you transition to the new standard. They may ask to extend the duration of the audit, but that's a common way of making the transition.


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