What You Need to Know About the Latest Updates to ISO 45001

Guest Blog

Following publication of the ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management, Draft International Standard (DIS) in February 2016, the International Committee met in Toronto in June 2016 to discuss over 3,000 comments which had been submitted. A ballot had been held which narrowly failed to support the current DIS.  It was agreed to produce a second DIS, expected in January 2017. If the following ballot is successful the final standard will be published in June 2017.  Meanwhile the first DIS has been withdrawn leaving those who did not see or obtain a copy wondering what need to know in order to prepare themselves for the advent of the Standard.

So what are the problems with the new DIS?  The discussions centered around changes needed to some key ‘Terms and Definitions’ such as ‘worker’, ‘participation’, and the definition of hazard. Changes were also proposed to areas such as ‘participation and consultation’, ‘awareness’, and ‘the hierarchy of controls’.  These subjects cause some nations difficulties.  Worker participation and consultation are seen by some to be part of an agenda of worker’s rights challenging managers’ attitudes, rather than an attempt to improve health and safety.  Hierarchy of controls is also unpopular in some countries which rely on the “safe worker” concept, rather than the idea of the “safe workplace”.  During the next few months the working groups will attempt to resolve the 3,000 comments.  However, if those parties who have objected so far are satisfied with any changes, will those who once supported the document oppose the new iteration of the document? Read more on the Intelex Community 45001 Group https://community.intelex.com/connect/groups/iso-45001

Chris Ward is a former United Kingdom Regulator Principal Inspector. He has authored guidelines around HSG65 OHSMS guidance, is an active contributor to the 45001 ISO drafting group, and a member of the BSI OHSAS 18001 committee.

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