Released as the new safety and health standard in early 2018, ISO 45001 has a range of EHS benefits. But how do companies become ISO 45001 certified? 

Introduced in March 2018, ISO 45001 replaced OHSAS 18001 to become the new international ISO standard for Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems.

It uses the structure, defined as Annex SL, as a management system aligning new standards. It is closely affiliated with other international standards for quality and security. By now, OHS professionals know the benefits — but how does a company become ISO 45001 certified? 

On the cutting edge

In November 2018, Peterson, an energy logistics supplier, became ISO 45001 certified across its global sites, including the UK, Trinidad and Malta.

As one of the first companies to achieve the standard, Peterson has unified its multiple sites in their safety and health approach, lifting the firm’s reputation with customers and employees. Furthermore, workers have taken an active role in health and safety, reducing lost time and costs. 

In achieving ISO 45001 certification, Peterson used an EHS software solution deployed on SharePoint and Office 365. 

In EHS circles, the new standard is regarded as an overhaul of traditional management, and a move towards a more “human” approach. 

To help organizations on their ISO 450001 journey, we spoke to Lauren Gosling, quality advisor at Peterson in Aberdeen, UK, to discover how the company became ISO 45001 certified. 

What steps did you take to become ISO 45001 certified?  

“At Peterson, we strive to achieve excellence and becoming ISO 45001 certified was the natural route of progression from OHSAS 18001:2007.

“We obtained a gap analysis tool from our certification provider which allowed us to clearly understand the differences in the two standards, as well as identifying improvement opportunities.

“Certification to 45001 was very much a team effort and we worked with employees in our key regions - UK, Netherlands and Trinidad - to ensure continuity and support the business in successfully obtaining certification.” 

How long did the process take?  

“All in all, the process took approximately six months. The Netherlands site achieved certification in May 2018; now we have the multi-site certificate, meaning our global operations across all sites – including the UK, Trinidad, Tobago and Malta - are ISO 45001 certified.”

What was the easiest part? 

“Well, we had the majority of requirements already in place: ISO 9001:2015 (quaiity) and 14001:2015, (environmental) the advantage of Annex SL, and a mature business management system.”

What was the most difficult? 

“With multiple regions and certification providers, finding solutions to appease multiple auditors was our main focus. However, with the working group in place, we achieved continuity and an improved system of work that satisfies the standard and regional needs.”

How did it feel when Peterson achieved the standard?  

“Knowing that Peterson was one of the first companies to achieve the certification, we felt immensely proud. We hope our customers and suppliers recognize our hard work and feel able to approach us for advice and collaborative thinking on safety and health performance.” 

What are the benefits you realized as a result?

“Like all of our certified standards - 9001, 14001, 50001 (energy management), 45001, and soon to be 27001 (information security management) - the business recognizes the many benefits. A structured management system supporting consistency throughout the organization satisfies current and prospective customers’ needs; facilitates and promotes continual improvement; and ultimately provides a safe system of work for our people.

“These certificates promote workers to take an active role in health and safety. In turn, this reduces lost time due to accidents or ill health, and creates better working environment.”

What are your top tips for achieving ISO 45001 certification? 

“The ISO 45001 standard is adaptable to any size, maturity and nature of business. Whether you are looking to achieve certification or simply improve an existing management system, understanding the ISO 45001 principles is a great place to start.

“In increasingly difficult market conditions, reviewing processes efficiency is greatly supported by the ISO requirements.”

What are Peterson’s 2019 safety goals?

“Peterson is committed to the vision of Target Zero. We aim to achieve this by having a robust management system, a continued commitment to the training and competence of our people and maintaining relationships and memberships with industry working groups to share safety knowledge and best practices.

“Alongside this latest accreditation, Peterson strives towards enhanced safety procedures. With our innovative use of smart technology, the company has won several industry safety awards. Peterson uses data to identify patterns where safety may be compromised, enabling safety to be managed both predictably and proactively.”

Demonstrating commitment

Almost a year after publication, more and more organizations are achieving ISO 45001 certification. Demonstrating your commitment to the standard and, as we heard from Lauren Gosling, process efficiency is advocated.

Whether you’re certified or not, a pragmatic approach to EHS management systems is always best. EHS software is a pillar of many EHS management systems. Now is good time to ensure its flexibility, accessibility and configurability, before the next standard is published.