Many organisations with certified management systems will be pleased that they have completed the transition to ISO 9001 and/or ISO 14001 by the deadline in late 2018. Those with certified OHSAS 18001 systems face a similar decision and the clock is ticking! A year has passed since the publication of the ISO 45001 standard and the deadline for the end of accredited OHSAS 18001 certification is now less than two years away.
The take-up of the new ISO 9001/14001 was initially rather slow and organisations faced a transition challenge in meeting the new requirements in the 2015 versions of those standards with some 90% leaving migration until the deadline was nearly upon them, hoping that there would be enough capacity within the certification bodies to meet this late surge in demand. The case of OHSAS 18001 is perhaps slightly different there are some greater challenges as ISO was not previously associated with OHSAS 18001 and the new standard attracts rules associated with equivalent systems. In addition to the specified requirements in ISO 45001, the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) has set out specific requirements for certification bodies to focus on important areas of ISO 45001 –
- Identification of interested parties
- those within the organisation that certification bodies should interview as part of the certification process
It is essential that organisations start to plan their migration sooner rather than later as it is not sufficient to bolt on a few extra requirements to their current OHSAS 18001. The enhanced role of management and vital involvement of workers will need to be appreciated and requires top management to take a more proactive approach, fully understanding what is required. The safety manager will not just be able to overlay the identification of hazards and control of risks and provide a system to meet ISO 45001. The OH&S specialist may not be able to identify the “Context” issues that have to be satisfied in Clause 4, nor set up the processes for worker involvement (Clause 5) and is unlikely to determine by themselves the “risk opportunities” specified in Clause 6.
A suggested plan for those who want an orderly conversion is as follows:
- Brief top management and secure their commitment
- Satisfy the context requirements with top management support/involvement
- Identify the gaps with your current system, whether it is an accredited OHSAS system or not!
- Develop an implementation plan
- Train internal auditors or upskill existing ones
- Implement the system
By David Smith, Chair of ISO 45001 committee