OHSAS 18001 is the globally accepted standard which provides a framework for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System. Dangers and risks are identified and evaluated with an Occupational Health and Safety Management System in order to subsequently minimalize them. The ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle (PDCA) forms the basis for the Occupational Health and Safety Management System. In addition to this execution cycle, OHSAS 18001 also imposes requirements on the results of the management system:


  • Continuous improvement of the working conditions;
  • Management of the occupational health and safety risks as a result of the organization’s activities;
  • Compliance with the applicable legislation.

The requirements in the OHSAS 18001 are divided into five parts:

  • Occupational health and safety policy;
  • Planning;
  • Implementation and operation;
  • Checking and corrective measures;
  • Management review.

The OHSAS 18001 is often certified in combination with ISO 9001 and/or ISO 14001. As the standards overlap each other and therefore complement each other, it is possible to implement an integrated system. Furthermore, QMS International certifies the integrated system, this means that the combined audit saves time and money for the organization.

How do we transform the existing OHSAS 18001 to the ISO 45001?

The development of the ISO/ DIS 45001 Standard is delayed. Until 12 May 2016 the ISO members could vote if the ISO / DIS 45001 (Development ISO Standard) could be followed by the FDIS version, the final version. The vote is unfortunately negative expired, there will come first a second DIS version. It is expected that the second DIS version is not published before the end of 2016. The publication of the Final Standard  will be the second half of 2017.
Large organizations broadly use OHSAS 18001 internationally. In a significant number of countries, OHSAS 18001 has been accepted as the national standard. In regards to this set-up, the OHSAS 18001-standard seamlessly fits the ISO 14001-standard. On the level of ISO, work is currently being done to develop an ISO-standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, namely ISO/ DIS 45001. As a result, the OHSAS 18001:2007 will no longer be applicable and the ISO/ DIS 45001 will comply with the High Level Structure of amongst others the renewed ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

What are the most important differences between OHSAS 18001 and the renewed ISO/ DIS 45001?

Differences based on HLS:

  • Context analysis;
  • Determination of requirements of involved parties;
  • Influence of changes (internal and external) on the organization;
  • Integration with other business processes;
  • Immediate management involvement;
  • Risks and opportunities;
  • Communication concerning basic needs (both internally and externally);
  • Management of outsourced processes;
  • Documented information instead of procedures.

The most important differences between OHSAS 18001 and ISO/ DIS 45001 in regards to Occupational Health and Safety Management:

  • The ‘worker’ concept;
  • Leadership (accountability, strategic planning);
  • Culture in regards to Occupational Health and Safety Management;
  • Persons working under the control of the organization;
  • Commitment in regards to ‘hierarchy of control’;
  • Competences instead of training needs.

When should you switch?

Since the publication of the new ISO 45001 standard still delayed is, many companies ask themselves what they can do right now. We recommend not to wait but to start with the ISO/ DIS 45001, published in 2016.

The management system, implemented based on the ISO/ DIS 45001, can also be OHSAS 18001 certified in the intervening period. The changes in the final standard will not be a risk for your organization or certification.

QMS International will keep you informed of the latest developments concerning the new ISO 45001. The standard is expected to be available at the end of 2017. QMS International also strives to obtain the accreditation for this ISO 45001 at the DAkkS in Germany.