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OHS Management System FAQ's

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ISO 45001 Based OHS Management System

1. What are the benefits of implementing an OHS Management System to a standard?

ISO 45001 OHS Management Systems allows organisations to provide evidence they are properly managing their OHS risks and hazards in the workplace. This can provide numerous benefits and opportunities, including:

  • Tendering for work - Government contracts​ and large corporate organisations often require conformance with a standard
  • Legal compliance - Provides evidence your organisation is addressing its regulatory obligations.
  • Providing evidence for interested parties - Customers and other interested stakeholders can see that your organisation has high level OHS managements systems in place
  • Reducing workplace related harm – Structured management of OHS hazards and risks can lead to fewer incidents and near misses
  • Creating cost savings- More carefully managed OHS systems lead to reductions in worker sick leave.
  • Minimising the risk of legal action – A formalised system can minimise incidents and provide evidence of due diligence should an incident occur.
  • Marketing advantage – Certification may provide a competitive advantage as a key differentiator in the marketplace.

2. What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is a new International Standard that specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OHS) management system and is applicable to any organisation regardless of its size, type and nature.

As the world’s first International Standard dealing with health and safety at work, ISO 45001 considers other international standards and implements the same structure and process as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. This makes the integration of multiple ISO systems much easier.

3. How is ISO 45001 different to AS/NZ 4801?

If you are familiar with AS/NZS 4801 you will be familiar with many of the requirements and concepts in ISO 45001. The overall intent (a framework for managing prevention of death, injury, ill-health) remains the same.

While many of the requirements are unchanged or have been expanded there are also some largely new additions when compared to AS/NZS 4801 including:

  • Enhanced understanding the Organisation and its context
  • Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties
  • Improved processes for identifying operational hazards and risks
  • Identification of OHS opportunities
  • More emphasis on planning to take action
  • Advanced evaluation of compliance with legal and other requirements
  • Improved methods for ensuring worker involvement in OHS implementation and compliance
  • A greater involvement from leaders

4. Will ISO 45001 replace AS/NZ 4801?

Standards Australia’s technical committee, a member of the ISO committee, voted to support the publication of the standard. This represents Australia’s commitment to this new standard with the committee now considering the compatibility of the standard within the Australian regulatory framework.

Generally, a 3-year period for migration is used when introducing a new standard, although this is yet to be confirmed by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and Standards Australia. After the initial migration period, it is possible that AS/NZ 4801 will be withdrawn and replaced by ISO 45001.

5. Will I be able to use the OHS Management System in my state?

Yes, unlike State Regulations and Codes Of Practice, the OHS Management System is written to align with International Standards and can be used Australia wide regardless of the type and nature of your enterprise.

6. What is the biggest strength of ISO 45001?

There are several strong points as to why an organisation would use this standard. One, it is based on many years of research and has backing from many other developed countries and international organisations, including Australia and New Zealand.

Additionally, it integrates more easily with other common ISO management system standards such as ISO 9001: Quality Management System and ISO 14001: Environmental Management System particularly in terms of risk management and risk assessment techniques.

7. New Zealand Adoption of ISO 45001:2018

  • ISO 45001:2018 was published March 2018 as the world’s first international standard for occupational health and safety

  • It is anticipated that ISO 45001:2018 will become an identically adopted Joint New Zealand/Australian standard (AS/NZS) later this year.

  • Although New Zealand had originally considered adopting the standard as an NZ/ISO standard, the decision was recently made to terminate the New Zealand-only adoption of ISO 45001:2018 and proceed with a joint Australian/New Zealand adoption of the standard.

  • The joint draft standard is currently out for public consultation in New Zealand and closes on 28 August 2018.

  • If AS/NZS ISO 45001 is adopted in Australia and New Zealand as a voluntary standard, Standards New Zealand will then start the process to adopt it, probably in 2019, at which time AS/NZS 4801 will in all likelihood be withdrawn.

  • If the decision is made to both adopt the standard as a joint standard in Australia and New Zealand and replace AS/NZS 4801:2001 with AS/NZ-ISO 45001:2018 as the current standard then the normal 3-year transition period will likely be implemented.

  • All standards remain voluntary unless cited in legislation. AS/NZS ISO 45001, once published, won’t be cited in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 or regulations under the Act, until the Government reviews the legislation.

Our SWMS are written by Ex-OHS Inspectors to comply with current legislation