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Key Differences Between OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001:2018

Published on:9th September, 2019

The ISO 45001:2018 solely focuses on the occupational health and safety management system of an organisation. Published in March 2018, this standard works towards eliminating the chance of any potential disease and injuries related to occupation. It also follows the structure of ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015, so that it is easy to integrate these standards in any organisation if it has already received the ISO 45001:2018 certification.

 This ISO standard is based on the OHSAS 18001 that also focuses on the OH&S assessments. The organisations that have already acquired the BS OHSAS 18001 certification can easily migrate to the ISO 45001 till March 2021. Although the ISO 45001:2018 is mainly based on the standards of OHSAS 18001, there are some differences in these two standards.

  1. The now-defunct OHSAS 18001 was mainly focused on managing the occupational health and safety hazards and issues related to it. However, the ISO 45001 primarily focuses on the interaction between the working environment and the organisation. This helps to minimise or eliminate the chance of any hazard.
  2. The new ISO 45001:2018 standard is a process-based certification while the old OHSAS 18001 is a procedure-based certification. The first one focuses primarily on why the hazard happens rather than solely concentrating on the solution part.
  3. The OHSAS 18001 is not dynamic, but the new ISO 45001 truly is. Besides addressing all the OH&S issues of any organisation, it also gives it the much-required confidence in safety management for efficient productivity and improved working condition for all the workers.
  4. The OHSAS 18001 certification primarily focuses on the occupational risk of any organisation while the ISO 45001 focuses on both the risk and opportunities. By doing so, it not only eliminates the chance of future hazards and also finds opportunities to improve the overall safety standard.
  5.  OHSAS 18001 did not ever include the views of interested parties of any organisation. However, the new ISO 45001:2018 contains all the aspects. With that inclusion, it not only creates the engagement of all the parties but also creates a better working environment.


 With the upgrade from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001:2018, the global industry has witnessed a significant shift in the way any organisation perceived the health and safety management and other issues related to it. And now, the occupational hazard and safety are not a standalone issue for the organisation; it has become an integral part of the whole operational procedure to maintain a sustainable organisation. Although the approaches of these two standards are different, any organisation can now migrate to ISO 45001 easily, if it previously followed the guidelines of the OHSAS 18001.