ISO 45001, the standard for health and safety at work

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), accidents at work and work-related illnesses cause 2.3 million fatalities every year. On top of that, there are also 374 million non-fatal injuries and cases of illness every year. Apart from the immense impact on families, costs for industry and the economy are also substantial. ISO 45001 aims to help organisations set up efficient health and safety management systems.


What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is the world’s first international standard for health and safety at work (OH&S – Occupational Health and Safety). It provides a framework for improving safety, reducing risks in the workplace and improving employee health and well-being. As a result, organisations can proactively improve their OH&S performance, regardless of their size or sector.


How can ISO 45001 benefit your organisation?

ISO 45001 can help you implement an OH&S management system so that you can manage your risks better and improve health and safety performance. Here are the main benefits of applying ISO 45001:

  • fewer incidents in the workplace;
  • less absenteeism and lower staff turnover, resulting in higher productivity;
  • lower costs of insurance premiums;
  • a health and safety culture which encourages employees to play active roles in their own OH&S;
  • strengthened leadership, enabling OH&S performance to be proactively improved;
  • improved company reputation;
  • a better atmosphere amongst employees;
  • easy integration with other management systems, such as ISO 9001 for quality or ISO 14001 for the environment.


Tips for applying ISO 45001 successfully within your organisation

  1. Analyse the current OH&S context of your organisation and the internal and external factors that can influence your company.
  2. Determine the scope of your safety management system, taking account of what you want the system to achieve.
  3. Define your OH&S policy and goals.
  4. Determine the time frame within which you want to implement ISO 45001 and how you want to do it.
  5. Identify any gaps in competencies and/or resources which need to be addressed before you can apply the standard.


Certification: necessary or optional?

Certification – when an independent body compares your organisation’s processes with the requirements laid out by the standard – is not a requirement for ISO 45001. However, we do recommend it: it is a way of showing interested parties that your organisation has implemented the standard correctly. If your organisation is already certified in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 standard, then you will already have a lot of the tools and systems that you need. In addition, certification can be mandatory for collaboration with certain authorities or public bodies.

NBN does not carry out certification itself. For more information on the certification bodies, go to the website of BELAC.


How should you go about implementing standards?

NBN can help you to implement standards within your company or organisation. Purchase standards, take one of our training courses to gain insights into certain standards or join committees and make your voice heard.

Are you interested in purchasing one or more standards? You can do that via your personalised standards catalogue in myNBN or via the e-shop.

Would you like to broaden your knowledge through training? Send us an e-mail at or call 02 300 78 52.

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Would you like to help develop standards? Then why not join one of our committees. Send us an e-mail at or call 02 300 78 53.