The 6 core steps to becoming ISO 45001 certified

Introduced in March of 2018, ISO 45001 is the internationally recognised standard for occupational health and safety.

ISO 45001 has a particularly strong focus on risk management, highlighting the need for organisations to proactively identify and eliminate potential threats in the workplace. By becoming certified, businesses can ensure they’re implementing reliable, comprehensive and effective processes that meet all relevant legislative requirements.

If you’ve previously acquired OHSAS 18001 certification, you will need to transition to ISO 45001 by March 2021 to maintain your compliance.

While it’s not yet mandatory for those who are AS 4801 certified to change over to the new standard, there are various advantages of transitioning that are definitely worth looking into. For instance, while AS 4801 is a framework that’s purely implemented in Australia and New Zealand, ISO 45001 has the added benefit of being integrated by businesses worldwide. Thus, if you’re operating internationally, making the transition can help you maintain consistency when dealing with companies overseas.

For an organisation to achieve compliance, they are required to adequately satisfy various distinct guidelines that are outlined in the standard. There are a number of key steps that must be taken and, as with any standard, the ease of your transition will depend on the quality of your existing systems.

So, you’re interested in becoming ISO 45001 certified – what now?

Below we delve into the stages that organisations will typically progress through when striving towards compliance. If you’re not sure where to begin or what to expect, this article for you.

1. Understand ISO 45001

This may seem obvious but, prior to becoming ISO 45001 compliant, it’s crucial that you understand what exactly certification entails. By ensuring you comprehend the distinct requirements and what they mean for your business, you can avoid wasting time and resources on misguided, ineffective efforts.

Whether you speak with an experienced consultant or find a reliable resource where you can gain greater insights into ISO 45001, you’ll likely benefit from doing some form of research. If you are intending to DIY, the first step is to purchase a copy of the standard and read it.

2. Conduct an Analysis of Your Systems

Before making any adjustments to your current processes, you’ll need to conduct a gap analysis, risk analysis and occupational health and safety review. This will give you a better idea of where your systems are at now and what needs to be changed for you to meet your compliance goals.

By completing such assessments, you can pinpoint areas of improvement and create viable strategies that will address any issues accordingly.

3. Create a Plan

By this stage, you should have a pretty good idea of what action needs to be taken if you’re going to become ISO 45001 compliant. Now, you’ll need to use this information to develop a clear plan that will guide you towards certification success.

Typically, it would be suggested that you engage the professional assistance of an expert consultant when constructing your plan. As someone with extensive experience helping businesses like yours achieve certification, they can make sure you’re on the right track. In addition to this, an ISO 45001 expert can provide you with an outside perspective and will likely come up with suggestions you’re yet to contemplate.

With a comprehensive plan in place, you’ll be well equipped to become (and stay) compliant.

4. Education is Key

You can construct an exceptional your plan, but if it isn’t understood organisation-wide, you’ll struggle to reach your certification goals.

Providing your employees with sufficient training and education is crucial, as it ensures that they have the skills and knowledge required to fulfil their position with ISO 45001 guidelines in mind. When businesses are striving towards compliance with ISO 45001, efforts need to be made across all organisational levels. Thus, it’s not enough for top management to be the only people on board with the changes that need to be made. If you want to instil a positive culture that will last, giving your staff access to relevant education and training is incredibly important.

5. Audit and Review Performance

Once you’ve started integrating the changes detailed in your plan, regularly monitoring your progress towards your certification objectives is vital.

By conducting an ISO 45001 internal audit of your systems, you’ll be able to determine the effectiveness of your plan and whether it needs to be adjusted or refined. In addition to this, frequently completing audits gives you the opportunity to assess whether the systems you’re implementing are maintainable.

By examining the ongoing success of your efforts, you can avoid investing time and resources in an approach that isn’t actually working.

6. Become Certified

The final stage in achieving compliance involves getting in contact with a Registrar, which is also known as a Certification Body. At this point, a qualified certification body auditor will complete a certification audit that examines whether you’re compliant with ISO 45001 guidelines. Once they’re examined your systems, the organisation they represent will either approve or decline your certification or may raise non-conformances you need to address in order to be certified.

Of course, if you intend to stay compliant with ISO 45001, it’s suggested that you continue to audit your systems regularly.

For more information about achieving ISO 45001 certification, or to claim you free no-obligation system appraisal and quote, get in touch will our team by calling 1300 132 745.

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