What do you need to do to migrate to ISO 45001?
The new international standard for health and safety management, ISO 45001, was published in 2018. On issue those currently certified to OHSAS 18001 (the British Standard for health and safety) were given three years to complete arrangements to be certified to the new standard. We are now half-way through and if you have not yet started the process, time is running out!
Experience of the recent transition of ISO 9001 and ISO 1400 to updated standards illustrated the need to have preparations well in hand by this time. It is certainly the case that most certification bodies now have an expectation that they will begin to audit to the new standard – with only 15 months to go until the process is complete. The 9001 experience also shows us that there can be difficulties securing audit dates as the deadline approaches and those who have left preparations to the last-minute struggle to get things completed.
What to do now for ISO 45001
If you have not yet started work on migration you must now prioritise this activity. Not only must you have made the changes that are necessary but also demonstrate that they are now active within your organisation -evidence of which may take several months.
Complete an audit or gap analysis against the new standard – identifying what might already be in place and the development of actions required to deal with any omissions or gaps in current arrangements. This is a useful starting point to ensure that you do not do something that is unnecessary and to then prioritise the areas where most work is required.
Understand the new standard
If you are familiar with OHSAS 18001 then it is not a great leap in to the unknown to prepare for ISO 45001. It is even more useful if you already have experience with the new structures and requirements of the 2015 versions of ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. If you are worried that you do not have the knowledge at hand, there are a number of things you can do.
- Buy a copy of the standard – read it and ensure you understand what it is requiring you to do. It might also be worth getting hold of ISO 45002 – the guidance document on how to meet the requirements of ISO 45001.
- Complete some training. Our one-day foundation course on ISO 45001 is CQI and IRCA approved and will give you a good basis on which to plan what you need to do next
- Get external help – it is always possible to use expert advice and support to take you through the process. A good consultant will also ensure that you and your organisation learns about the systems and can then continue with minimal future support.
Implement the necessary changes
With a completed gap analysis and understanding of the standard you should be in a position to begin designing and then implementing anything new that you require. Do prioritise things that you think are larger items of work and also things that might take longer to fully implement within your organisation.
Some of the key things to remember are:
- Consider if your health and safety system will stand alone or be integrated with a quality or environmental management system. With commonality between systems this is now a great opportunity to integrate things – and reduce your overall workload
- Consider updating your audit programmes early so that you begin to cover some of the new requirements of ISO 45001. This allows you to measure progress and your certification body will also be looking to see that you have audited against the new standard before they award a certificate
- Consider any wider communications on changes to other members of your organisation – let them know what is happening and what implications it may have for them.
- Look closely at clauses that refer to worker participation and consultation. This is one of the biggest changes and is something to consider carefully early in the process. Certification bodies are already reporting that this is not being done well.
- You will need to have a full management review of your updated management system prior to certification. Think about when you might hold this so that it is not last minute and that you can demonstrate that you are dealing with actions arising
Note that ISO 45001 is a brand-new standard. This means you will migrate to it if you already have OHSAS 18001 – it is not a transition to an update. Having said this, certification bodies are dealing with the changes in much the same was as they did with ISO 9001/ISO 14001 transition.
If you have not spoken with your certification body, then do this soon – diaries will fill up towards the end of 2020 and it will become increasingly difficult to complete the migration in time. Some may ask you to schedule additional audits to your OHSAS 18001 programme and others may integrate into their existing programme.
QCS have been helping clients gain and maintain certification to international standards for over 30 years. If you think we might be able to help you then give us a call on 01236 734447.