A 10 Step Action Plan for Safety Management Implementation

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To thrive in today’s competitive global market, businesses need to ensure they manage all their Occupational Health and Safety risks. ISO 45001:2018 has been developed by a committee of Occupational Health and Safety experts who have set out best-practice advice and guidance.

ISO 45001:2018 emphasises risk and expects organisations to identify workplace hazards and address them, with the aim of improving your organisation’s OH&S performance. This makes ISO 45001:2018 one of the most valuable Health and Safety Management Systems available.

Download our FREE Guide on Preparing for ISO 45001:2018 Implementation and use our readiness checklist to guide your project.


The Health & Safety Management System provides a framework for:

  • Employee participation and consultation
  • The assessment, evaluation and resolution of organisational risks, opportunities and hazards
  • The management of legislative change
  • Setting and achieving H&S objectives
  • The management of resources
  • Staff training and awareness
  • Managing both external and internal communication
  • Effective control of documents and records
  • Effective operational control
  • Managing the impact of change
  • Managing procurement
  • Managing emergency preparedness and response
  • Monitoring, measurement, analysis and performance evaluation
  • Internal and external auditing
  • Management review
  • Continual improvement


If you are planning on implementing an Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management System using the requirements of ISO 45001:2018, you will need to take steps towards ensuring your system is implemented right the first time. Although the steps we highlight below are not guaranteed to help you pass your audit, they will go a long way saving you time and keeping your project on track.

1. Get top management support

How will you go about achieving critical support from top management? Safety professionals and Risk Managers should understand the standard’s requirements and how it can positively impact the company’s bottom line. Armed with these insights, you can develop a strong business case for why your organisation should implement the standard.  

For guidance on the differences between OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 45001:2018, click here to read our blog Migrating from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001:2018?

2. Know the legal requirements  

Do you know all the health and safety laws applicable to your industry? Section 6.1.3 of ISO 45001:2018 outlines the requirements for knowing and maintaining your compliance, so that your implementation will succeed.

3. Define the scope of the OH&S Management System

Is your OH&S management system applicable to your entire enterprise or only one location of a multi-location company? This is critical for writing your OH&S Policy, that will guide your OH&S Management System.

4. Define processes and procedures

What processes and procedures need to be defined to control OH&S hazards? How will you identify them? What risk assessment do you need to do? What can be controlled through proper training and awareness?

5. Implement the OH&S processes and procedures

What do you need to do to put into place the processes and procedures from Step 4? How will you roll-out and manage the additional responsibilities that some employees will now have?

6. Train your employees 

How will you make your employees aware of the ISO 45001:2018 requirements? Will they attend training sessions and where? Who needs to be trained? It is important that everyone knows how they fit into the OH&S Management System structure and what is required of them.

7. Keep records

What do OH&S records tell you about your processes? Do you need to modify anything through your corrective action process? Do your employees understand what they need to do or is further training needed? Do you see areas for improvement and how can you take advantage of this?  

8. Conduct internal audits

Internal audits are the tools you use to check each of your processes. What are they telling you? Are your records adequate to show the process is working? Are there any problems that you need to fix with the corrective action process? Do some areas need more frequent audits?

9. Conduct a management review

Is your OH&S Management System functioning as expected? Is it properly implemented and effective? Are improvements being made and are adequate resources being supplied to the effort?

10. Corrective actions

Are there problems in your OH&S Management System you need to fix?  Use your corrective action process to find the root cause of the problem and address this cause with corrective action.

Download our FREE Guide on Preparing for ISO 45001:2018 Implementation and use our readiness checklist to guide your project!


Take the time to create a good project plan and ensure adequate resources are applied from the start. Having a project plan will help to make sure that implementation runs smoothly and prevent wasting time and resources.

Do you need assistance with training, Gap Analysis or developing a project plan?

Risk ZA can assist you with a number of consulting interventions, project planning, and bespoke Onsite and Public Training courses. For assistance, please contact our expert consultants on +27 (0) 31 569 5900 OR email info@riskza.com.

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