Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Standard and Clauses. What is ISO 45001:2018?

audit iso 45001 Sep 16, 2021

The OH&S management systems ISO 45001:2018 standard itself is split into ten clauses. The OH&S standard is developed to provide a clear and defined framework and set of requirements on how to run a safer business. Sections 1 to 3 are about details on the scope of OH&S management systems, normative references, and explanations or terminology that help give you a better understanding of the standard. Clauses 4 to 10 contain the requirements:

  • Context of the organization (clause 4),
  • Leadership (clause 5),
  • Planning (clause 6), Support (clause 7),
  • Operation (clause 8),
  • Performance evaluation (Clause 9) and
  • Improvement (clause 10).

Clause 4-Context of the Organization

This standard clause requires each organization to analyze and understand the context of its scope and activity, both externally and internally, and understand the needs of interested parties.

The questions below can assist you in having a better understanding of this clause.

  • What is this business about?
  • What is the scope of work?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the opportunities?
  • How do we identify the risks?
  • Who are the internal and external interested parties, and what are their expectations?

Clause 5-Leadership and Worker Participation

This clause is about the requirement relevant to the top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the OH&S and identify the organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities present in the OH&S management systems. The top management has to take accountability for ISO 45001. Establish and enforcing the health and safety policies and overseeing the implementation is assigned as the key role of the organization's top management.

Clause 6-Planning

The intent of this clause is to provide a pathway for planning to avoid undesired outcomes and mitigate the consequence of risks that can have adverse impacts on the organization's continuity. This clause of ISO 45001 is about the identification of the risks to the organization and establishing a proper plan to identify and mitigate the consequences as low as reasonably practicable.

Clause 7-Support

Clause 7 “support” includes elements such as communication, competence, awareness and documented information, as well as resources. This standard clause is about the support that has to be supplied to businesses to ensure compliance with the organization's activity and scope. The requirements around needed resources, competence, awareness, communication and documentation are built in this clause of the standard.

Clause 8-Operation

Operational controls and emergency preparedness and response are addressed in Clause 8. This clause is more specific about outsourcing and procurement management, meaning that organizations must ensure that the responsibility for risk is retained by management and not passed on to contractors. You cannot exclude any clause of ISO 45001contrary to what we have in ISO 9001 or the quality management systems.

Clause 9-Performance Evaluation

Monitoring and measuring the OH&S management system performance, including compliance to legislation and internal audit results, is covered in clause 9. This section also emphasizes that management must review the OH&S management system performance to ensure effective outcomes. This clause represents the check steps from the Deming cycle. Here, you have to go backward and evaluate the performance of the taken actions and programs to evaluate how effective they were.

Clause 10-Improvement

The last clause sets out how an organization must ensure continual improvement from the OH&S management system. Having KPI's and objectives in place is one method to enable organizations to demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement.


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