Over 7 600 people die each day from work-related accidents or diseases – that’s over 2.78 million every year.

The burden of occupational injuries and diseases is significant, both for employers and the wider economy, resulting in losses from early retirements, staff absence and rising insurance premiums.

To combat the problem, ISO has developed a new standard, ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements, that will help organizations reduce this burden by providing a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.

The standard was developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts, and follows other generic management system approaches such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.

ISO 45001 specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, and gives guidance for its use, to enable organizations to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health, as well as by proactively improving its OH&S performance.

ISO 45001 is applicable to any organization that wishes to establish, implement and maintain an OH&S management system to improve occupational health and safety, eliminate hazards and minimize OH&S risks (including system deficiencies), take advantage of OH&S opportunities, and address OH&S management system nonconformities associated with its activities.

ISO 45001 helps an organization to achieve the intended outcomes of its OH&S management system. Consistent with the organization’s OH&S policy, the intended outcomes of an OH&S management system include:

a) continual improvement of OH&S performance;

b) fulfilment of legal requirements and other requirements;

c) achievement of OH&S objectives.

ISO 45001 is applicable to any organization regardless of its size, type and activities. It is applicable to the OH&S risks under the organization’s control, taking into account factors such as the context in which the organization operates and the needs and expectations of its workers and other interested parties.

ISO 45001 does not state specific criteria for OH&S performance, nor is it prescriptive about the design of an OH&S management system.

ISO 45001 enables an organization, through its OH&S management system, to integrate other aspects of health and safety, such as worker wellness/wellbeing.

ISO 45001 does not address issues such as product safety, property damage or environmental impacts, beyond the risks to workers and other relevant interested parties.

ISO 45001 can be used in whole or in part to systematically improve occupational health and safety management. However, claims of conformity to this document are not acceptable unless all its requirements are incorporated into an organization’s OH&S management system and fulfilled without exclusion.