globalVoting has begun on draft ISO 45001, which sets the requirements for an occupational health and safety management system.

ISO 45001 is currently at the committee draft stage of development, the first consultation phase. During this stage, the countries (ISO members) that have chosen to participate in the standard's development have two months to form a national position on the draft and comment on it.

Why an ISO standard?

According to the International Labour Organization, around 2.34 million people died as a result of work-related accidents and diseases in 2013. Approximately 2 million are the result of work-related illnesses and 321 000 are due to accidents.

A strong occupational health and safety management system can bring these numbers down by reducing accidents and ill health linked to the workplace. This will in turn create a positive corporate culture as employees feel their needs and safety are being taken into account. It can also help organizations to avoid costly prosecutions and might even reduce insurance costs.

ISO 45001 provides requirements to put in place a system and structure that protects and reduces risk to employees. Having an ISO standard has some added benefits:

  • ISO brings together international expertise. Nearly 70 countries are involved in the development of ISO 45001 as participants or observers through their ISO members.
  • Many organizations are already using ISO management system standards, which will make integrating a similar standard on occupational health and safety much easier.
  • Often small businesses have only one person looking after both safety and environmental concerns, so the committee is making sure that easy integration with ISO 14001 is possible.
  • ISO standards are recognized around the world, which will encourage more organizations to adopt ISO 45001.

ISO 45001 is being developed by ISO project committee ISO/PC 283, Occupational health and safety management systems. The Secretariat is currently held by the ISO member for the United Kingdom, BSI.