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Adoption of ISO 45001 as an American National Standard is a watershed moment for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS). The standard provides a structure around which organizations can work to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

ASSE filed the required paperwork with ANSI in January 2018, anticipating that the standard would be approved following balloting during the final draft international stage. The approved standard was published March 12, 2018, with 93 percent of its members voting in favor of the new international standard. ASSE played a key role in the standard’s development, serving as the administrator of the U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) to ANSI. the requirement of a two-thirds majority.

The standard specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety 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 their occupational health and safety performance.

“This is an important and vital development in advancing occupational safety and health prevention efforts,” says 2017-18 ASSE President Jim Smith, M.S., CSP. “Creating management systems that assess risk and create solutions that integrate the processes into organization is critical in its success in improving injury reduction outcomes.”

The standard also should help safety professionals better engage senior management and involve more employees. “The human impact, business cost and the overall effects on society from injuries is just not acceptable,” Smith says. “ISO 45001 provides a platform to advance our efforts in injury prevention.”

ISO 45001 provides a global foundation of worker safety standards and inspections that can be used across all global supply chains and all industries to cover all contractors and subcontractors. Much like ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 have provided consensus solutions to quality management and environmental protection concerns in the global marketplace, ISO 45001 will help drive solutions for improving worker safety across the globe.

This global development also affects both OHSAS 18001 [from British Standards Institute (BSI)] and ANSI/ASSE Z10, American National Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. BSI plans to withdraw OHSAS 18001 standard, giving organizations three years to migrate to ISO 45001. ASSE will not withdraw the Z10 standard because it fills a need and enables organizations to choose the standard that best fits its needs and circumstances. To best navigate these issues, read an article by Greg Zigulis, CSP, CIH, from the May 2017 issue of Professional Safety, and our post describing a five-step action plan for ISO 45001 implementation.

Recognition of Consensus Standards

Anytime a new consensus standard is published, we are asked where/how ANSI/ASSE voluntary national consensus standards are recognized by governmental agencies. Here are links to several sources related to this issue: