Migrating from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001:2018? Work With Risk ZA!

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On 12 March 2018 – a year ago yesterday – the long-awaited ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Standard was published and received with great fanfare. While the international standard was being developed, safety professionals asked whether ISO 45001:2018 would be a game-changer. Here at Risk ZA we think that it is. Why? Simply because:

  • Standards matter. They help organisations to deal with multiple regulatory systems across economic boundaries and national borders. Millions of people die globally due to their work each year and ISO 45001:2018 promotes and encourages much-needed solutions.
  • Adopting ISO 45001:2018 means that top management play a central role in advising and supporting the organisation’s journey of continual improvement and raising awareness. The Standard focuses on leadership and context, which means that the leaders adopting its principles have to live and breathe them; they have to keep them front of mind in their strategies, operations and stakeholder relations.
  • Top management needs to create a culture in which OH&S competence is developed, across the board, and where workers receive adequate and appropriate training and information so that they can actively and effectively participate in decision-making.
  • The ISO 45001:2018 Standard requires that the OH&S Management System itself proactively helps to prevent injury and ill-health, not only within organisations but throughout an organisation’s supply chain. This is important in our globalised world where estimates show that only around 10% of working populations of low-income countries are effectively covered by safety and health regulation. 

Leading companies have already started migrating to the standard and some people anticipate that ISO 45001:2018 will outstrip the OHSAS 18001:2007 Standard. Below we consider some of the benefits that adopting ISO 45001:2018 will have for your business.

Download your FREE Guide and start preparing for your migration from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001:2018 NOW!

WHY DO I NEED ISO 45001:2018?

For organisations that do not currently have an OH&S management system, the benefit derives from the need to combat persistent danger. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are over 2.78 million deaths each year from workplace injuries or illnesses. These incidents occur in all places of employment. In fact, the greatest portion of these fatalities results from health issues, not injuries.

The ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Management System Standard will help your organisation to limit these risks. This is because the standard requires top management involvement, clear communication of OH&S issues throughout the organisation, effective processes for identifying hazards, and the means for continual improvement.


Organisations that have existing OH&S management systems in place, like OHSAS 18001:2007, will benefit from adopting the health and safety requirements in ISO 45001:2018. This is because ISO 45001:2018 was developed with consideration of OH&S Management Systems like OHSAS 18001.

Companies with ISO management systems already in place can integrate the OH&S management system presented by ISO 45001:2018 into their organisation’s practices. This is because ISO 45001:2018 shares a High-level Structure (HLS), identical core text, and terms and definitions with other recently revised ISO Management System standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

Moreover, ISO 45001:2018 was designed to follow ISO 14001:2015 very closely, as organisations often combine their OH&S and Environmental Management Systems internally. Therefore, organisations familiar with ISO 14001:2015 should be able to adopt ISO 45001:2018 with relative ease.


To help you assess what will impact your business, and to make a decision as to whether ISO 45001:2018 is a worthwhile investment, here are 6 benefits that you can gain from adopting the standard.

1. Positions your business as an industry leader

By implementing the most up-to-date OH&S standard, your organisation will be internationally recognised. Certification against the standard is considered a level of excellence that is acknowledged worldwide and will help to set you apart from your competitors.

2. Increases trust

Demonstrating that you are actively facilitating continuous improvement of your employees’ morale, safety and health, will illicit people to trust that you are socially accountable for your stakeholder’s well-being. Being transparent and promoting your Corporate Social Responsibility efforts can have a huge impact on how the public, your future employees and prospective clients perceive your business.

3. Lowers insurance premiums

Implementing ISO 45001:2018 presents an opportunity to attract lower insurance premiums as it proves that your organisation is performing strong due diligence in managing and protecting employees.

4. Preventative risk and hazard assessment

Implementing ISO 45001:2018 helps your organisation to prevent risks as opposed to reacting to them once they are detected, as is the case when using OHSAS 18001:2007. The internal auditing system provides an ‘early warning system’ to help you spot potential threats to health and safety.

5. Increases return on investment (ROI)

There are a number of ways that ISO 45001:2018 will provide ROI for your organisation. By implementing ISO 45001:2018, the efficiency of your staff improves, while workplace injury reduces. This means productivity levels can be improved across your business. This improvement in productivity, reduction in property damage and general employee safety and wellness can have a positive impact on insurance premiums by reducing the number of claims.

6. Deals with risk and opportunities

Essentially, ISO 45001:2018 deals with both the risks and opportunities associated with safety and health issues, whereas OHSAS 18001:2007 and previous standards primarily deal with the risks presented within an organisation’s work environment.


There are a host of benefits for implementing ISO 45001:2018 into your business processes. Ultimately, it is a fantastic management system that aims to reduce OH&S risks within the workplace and puts the protection of employees’ health at the forefront of all processes and planning.

It will take time to become certified to ISO 45001:2018. We encourage you begin the process NOW, in order to meet the 11 March 2021 migration deadline!


The clock is ticking…migrate today! You need to begin the process because it takes time to certify against the ISO 45001:2018 Standard and you have less than 2 years left to transition. We provide training, consulting services and certification audits that will help to make your migration process seamless.

Contact Risk ZA on +27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com or using our contact form.

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