Since the passage of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 employers have made significant progress in ensuring work areas are free of recognized hazards. Nevertheless, the International
Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, estimates that 2.78 million fatal accidents and 374 million non-fatal injuries happen at work each year.
The International Organization for Standardization or ISO, an international organization that develops standards to facilitate industrial and trade standardization, in March 2018 published ISO 45001:2018.
Completed after five years of deliberation and applicable to all organizations, this new ISO standard sets forth a framework for management systems used for occupational health and safety (OHS) and its improvement. According to the ISO, 45001 is intended to provide a set of international guidelines that organizations can use to develop a consistent framework for the management systems used to assess and improve health and safety in the workplace.
The standard builds on the 2007 British Standard OHSAS 18001, which called for more methodical management of occupational health and safety.
It advances OHSAS 18001 by specifying requirements to ensure that workers, suppliers, subcontractors, clients and regulatory authorities all are aware of their responsibility to know about and act upon risk and opportunities, and that organizational leadership engages in – and takes accountability for – the OHS management system. This process-based approach to mitigating risks and examining opportunities better enables all interested parties to significantly improve workplace safety.