Adopting new safety standards can help south carolina manufacturers be more globally competitive

Safety First – OHSAS 18001 will be replaced by ISO 45001

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 5,000 workers were killed in work-related deaths in 2014 in the United States. As globalization of our supply chains continues to grow, South Carolina companies are becoming more aware of quality, environmental and safety practices of our suppliers. According to International Organization for Standardization, over 6,300 people die each year from work-related accidents or diseases – that’s over 2 million deaths every year.

To help remedy this incredible statistic, ISO is developing a new international standard aimed at reducing work-related hazards and risks.

BS OHSAS 18001 is a widely-used British Standard for Health & Safety typically observed in manufacturing operations.

This British standard is often confused as an international standard. ISO 18001 currently is a standard, but it has nothing to do with Occupational Health & Safety. ISO 18001 is actually a standard for radio frequency identification.

The 18000 series of standards were developed outside of the world of ISO (International Standards Organization) as a British Standard (BS), therefore the official reference to the standard a site can be registered to is “BS OHSAS 18001”. Furthermore, “OHSAS” is an abbreviation for Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Services in reference to the Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Services Project Group. This group first published the multi-national standard in 1999. OHSAS 18001 represents the standard with requirements for registration where OHSAS 18002 is the guidance document for establishing, implementing or improving a management system.

The purpose of OHSAS 18001 is to provide organizations with standard elements for developing a formal health and safety management system. The layout has been updated in recent years for easy integration with the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard. The OHSAS & EMS standards are nearly identical, the greatest difference being the elements that an organization manages, controls and improves. The term frequently used to describe an integrated system encompassing both OHSAS & EMS elements is Health, Safety & Environment (HSE).

Assuming planned timelines are adhered to, the OHSAS 18001 standard should be retired and replaced by ISO 45001 in late 2016 resulting in the release of “ISO 45001:2016”.

“Annex SL” is, in short, a standard for how standards are developed. Annex SL contains rules governing the development of all ISO management standards. The structure of future standards, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 will be as follows:


The ISO community and HSE practitioners are hopeful for a more global adoption and recognition of the health and safety standards once published and released. It is estimated that poor health and safety management costs represent approximately 4% of the Global Gross Domestic Product. Proper management of health and safety elements is not only a recommended approach to a socially responsible organization, doing so typically has significant positive financial impacts.




Projected timeline & stages for standard development:


Figure 1 – Source

To monitor the progress of ISO/PC 283, the Technical Committee working together to publish the ISO 45001 standard, visit their page online.


picAbout the Author: Jim Thompson is the Founder & President of Concentric Global with headquarters in Charleston, SC.  Jim has been a member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) since 1995 where he has served in various leadership positions including Chair and Lowcountry Quality Conference Chair as well as on the leadership panels for the Quality Management and Lean Enterprise Divisions for ASQ Global. Jim is a 1996 graduate of Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN with a Bachelors in I.O. Psychology and Organizational Leadership & Supervision.  He is an Exemplar Global (RABQSA) Accredited Quality Lead Auditor and certified management system instructor and consultant specializing in quality and advanced manufacturing. Jim is a 2015 graduate of the Harbor Entrepreneur Center’s Cohort III and the World Trade Center’s Export Program. He lives and works in downtown Charleston with daughters Mady and Katelyn.

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