Your 10 Step ISO 45001 Implementation Plan

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Your 10 Step ISO 45001 Implementation Plan

Preparing to gain ISO 45001 certification? An ISO 45001 certified OHS management system won’t just ensure the physical and mental safety of your workforce, it will also demonstrate your commitment to safe working practices that comply with international standards. But how do you achieve ISO 45001 compliance? This ISO 45001 framework and ISO 45001 implementation plan will give you an overview of what’s involved in becoming ISO 45001 compliant and implementing an efficient, integrated, internationally recognised OHS management system. 

What is ISO 45001?

According to the International Labour Organisation, more than 7,600 people die from work-related illnesses and accidents every day, with thousands more suffering temporary or permanent injuries. Perhaps the most tragic element of this statistic is the fact that most of those accidents and illnesses could have been prevented with proper occupational health and safety procedures.

In response to these unacceptable statistics, an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) committee of world occupational health and safety experts developed an ISO management system with the potential to save nearly three million lives annually. This management system is called ISO 45001

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ISO 45001 builds on the work of previous international standards including OHSAS 18001 and the International Labour Organisation’s ILO-OSH Guidelines to create a universal standard for workplace health and safety encompassing the holistic health and wellbeing of workers along with safety risks and opportunities for safer, healthier workplace practices. 

There are ten elements which need to be considered when implementing an ISO 45001 management system. We’ll cover each of these steps in this ISO 45001 implementation plan. 

ISO 45001 Framework

This simple ISO 45001 framework maps out the various stages of implementing an ISO 45001 plan. This framework is based on the 10 clauses of the ISO 45001 standard. 

ISO 45001 Framework

ISO 45001 Implementation Plan

Here we’ll go into more detail on each step of the ISO 45001 implementation framework, discussing why each step is important to the ISO 45001 certification process. 

Step 1: Scope 

The first step of implementing ISO 45001 is determining the scope of your management system and its intended outcomes. It’s important at this stage to note that the goal of ISO 45001 isn’t to simply provide an OHS management system framework but to actively prevent work-related injury and illnesses and promote healthy and safe working environments. This should be considered when identifying your goals, outcomes and scope.

Step 2: Normative References

You don’t have to do anything for this step, it was simply left in by the ISO team for consistency with other ISO management systems. 

Step 3: Terms and Definitions

You’ll find a list of terms and definitions under Clause 3 of ISO 45001. These terms will be listed in order of “conceptual importance”, rather than alphabetical order. If you’ve previously used ISO 45001’s predecessor OHSAS 18001, you’ll notice a number of updated and new definitions. Make sure you review and understand each of the terms listed in Clause 3 as these terms will determine what is required of you throughout the ISO 45001 implementation planning process. 

Step 4: Organisation Context

ISO 45001 needs to be aligned with your organisation’s strategic direction. Rather than acting as a stand-alone function, your OHS management system should be thoroughly integrated into your core business processes. Two of the most important factors in integrating your OHS management system into your organisation’s processes are: identifying barriers to achieving your intended outcomes; and determining the needs of your business’s stakeholders. At this stage of the ISO 45001 implementation plan, you’ll need to identify those barriers and determine the needs and expectations of all interested parties to determine the context of your organisation.

Step 5: Leadership and Worker Participation

At this step, your organisation’s top leadership members must establish, implement and maintain the workplace health and safety policy. ISO 45001 requires top management to actively ensure ongoing worker participation and consultation, with the accountability and responsibility of providing a safe workplace and preventing illness and injury falling to them. Leadership must provide all the time, resources and training required to ensure workers are both participating in OHS practices and engaging in consultation. 

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Step 6: Planning

Planning involves assessing any OHS risks along with other risks to the management system. It also requires an assessment of OHS opportunities which could lead to the improvement of the company’s OHS performance. This process applies to hazard identifications, assessment, control, legal requirements and setting objectives. Hazard identification must start at the conceptual design stage. 

Step 7: Support

It’s one thing to implement a new OHS management system, but it must also be supported so that it can achieve its objectives. To ensure your OHS management system is fully supported, at this stage you’ll need to determine and provide the resources required to establish, implement, maintain and improve the occupational health and safety system. 

Step 8: Operation

ISO 45001 takes into account the impacts of ongoing change — both in terms of added risks and unexpected opportunities. At this stage, you’ll need to plan how to implement change in a way that doesn’t introduce unforeseen hazards or exacerbate existing occupational health and safety risks. You’ll also be required to identify opportunities for performance improvement and establish procurement and outsourcing processes. 

Step 9: Evaluation of Performance

You may have the best OHS management system in the world, but without ongoing assessment and evaluation, it’s impossible to know whether it’s working to its optimum capabilities. At the performance evaluation stage, you’ll be required to develop processes for consultation and participation, risk assessment, hazard identification, operational control and planning. These processes, which should adhere to a plan, do, check, act cycle, can then be evaluated and updated. 


Step 10: Ongoing Improvement

ISO 45001 focuses on preventative action, aiming to actively seek out and remove the root causes of workplace ill-health and injuries. At this final stage of the ISO 45001 implementation plan, you’ll need to eliminate all root causes of con-conformities and incidents within your business — and continue to do so on an ongoing basis to foster continual, proactive improvement.

Step 11: Bonus step

Let BusinessBasics handle everything for you

If the idea of implementing all these steps seems too daunting, you’re not alone. Many businesses seek the help of professionals to help smooth the ISO 45001 implementation process and make the certification process easy and hassle-free. At BusinessBasics we’ve helped countless businesses across a diverse range of industries become ISO compliant, and we can help you too.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help with your ISO 45001 compliance.