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Are you ready to leave OHSAS 18001 for ISO 45001?

As OHSAS 18001 has been withdrawn, how do you migrate to ISO 45001?

By Simon Jones | June 14, 2021

Simon Jones, Practice Leader for the GB Risk Management Health and Safety team talks about how the OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety management system is being phased out in favour of transition to ISO 45001.
Risk & Analytics|Risk Management Consulting

The first ISO standard for the management of occupational health and safety (ISO 45001) was published in March 2018 to replace the existing Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001 standard. A transitional period was introduced for organisations to migrate from the old to the new standard, with the latest deadline being the 11 September 2021. From this date organisations will need to have their entire management system re audited and will no longer be able to display their 18001 certificate.

Once re-certified the certificate lasts for three years with 6 monthly surveillance audits being undertaken during this period. 

Moving is not straightforward

The ISO 45001 is written in line with Annex L to ensure it is fully integrable with other ISO standards such as 9001 (quality) and 14001 (environmental). Moving to the new standard is not a straightforward process. The main differences of the ISO 45001 in relation to OHSAS 18001 are that the 18001 certification primarily focuses on the occupational risk of an organisation while the ISO 45001 focuses on both the risk and opportunities. By doing so, it not only eliminates the chance of future hazards but also finds opportunities to improve the overall safety standard. 

Is help available?

Willis Towers Watson can assist organisations in ensuring that the transition to the new standard is as smooth as possible. We have a team of professionally qualified health and safety practitioners who have extensive experience across many sectors including retail, food, leisure and hospitality, construction and manufacturing. We offer the following services:

  • Carrying out a gap analysis on your existing management system in relation to ISO 45001
  • Assisting in the closing of any identified gaps
  • Developing a register of legislation and evidencing compliance against it
  • Undertaking internal audits of your management system once embedded or training your personnel as internal auditors.
  • Helping you set meaningful objectives and targets to ensure you can evidence continual improvement in performance
  • Assisting you in the selection of a UKAS accredited certification body
What are the benefits?

Implementing an effective management system can be time consuming and seem expensive but the benefits can be significant and include: 

  • Reduces the risk of Civil Liability and Criminal Prosecution
  • Protects an organisation's reputation
  • Marketing potential and access to key markets
  • Reduced costs and maybe a reduction in insurance premiums
  • Improved worker moral
  • Protection of key assets
  • Achieving continual improvement in performance

For further information please contact a member of your client service team, or alternatively you can contact our Health and Safety Practice Leader, Simon Jones.


Health, Safety and Environment Practice Leader
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