In October 2013 a project committee met in London to create the first working draft of ISO 45001. Using the current OHSAS 18001 – which is the internationally recognised and adopted British Standard for Occupational Health and Safety as the template, the new ISO 45001 will also be aligned with ISO 9001 – Quality Management & ISO 14001 – Environmental Management.

The OHSAS 18001 standard goes as far back as 1999 when there was a range of national health and safety standards for businesses to choose from in the British market. This led to confusion as there were many options, so by taking the best parts of these existing standards ISO 18001 was born. By 2005 around 16,000 organisations in more than 80 countries had the ISO 18001 standard.

How does the standard work?

An efficient occupational health and safety management system promotes a safer and healthier working environment for everyone involved. The standard helps organisations to implement a safe working environment and reduce potential accidents. Health & safety needs to be paramount in the workplace as 2.2 million workers lose their lives globally every year due to work-related accidents and diseases (US Department of Labor Report 2013).

The new ISO 45001 will allow all sizes of organisations across all sectors to set the benchmark for their health & safety standards across different geographic areas.  It is expected that the draft International standard will be made publicly available towards the end of 2014, with the final draft expected to be published in 2015 and it is expected that the ISO 45001 will come into effect late in 2016.