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ISO 45001 Improvement: everything you ever wanted to know about clause 10, but were afraid to ask!

Improvement: that’s a bit vague. What’s this clause really about? Clause 10, simply entitled Improvement, contains all requirements relating to incidents, non-conformity and corrective action, along with continual improvement.

ISO 45001 Improvement

Clause 10, simply entitled Improvement, contains all requirements relating to incidents, non-conformity and corrective action, along with continual improvement.


Does it vary greatly from OHSAS 18001?

No. For organizations already certified OHSAS 18001, migration should be fairly simple as ISO 45001 does not change things beyond recognition. The main change it makes to OHSAS 18001 is that preventive actions are no longer a requirement of the standard. There will also be some minor changes to wording, phases and terms to ensure that ISO 45001 aligns with ISO management standards (this is part of the new “High-Level Approach”).


What does it require us to do?

The clause stipulates that your organization must react appropriately to non-conformities and incidents, and take action to control and correct them. You are also required to deal with their consequences, and eliminate their sources to prevent recurrence. The section on non-conformity and corrective action aligns with OHSAS 18001 clauses 4.5.3,, and


Can you give us some specific examples?

The new standard requires that, when an incident or non-conformity occurs, your organization evaluate the risks to occupational health and safety before taking any action that could result in new or changed hazards. Your organization is then required to take direct action to address the non-conformity. However, you must also go further, investigating the root cause of any incident and addressing this cause in corrective actions. The standard also requires you document and review the effectiveness of any corrective actions taken.


Why has preventive action been removed from the standard?
The language of preventive action, which is found in most standards, has indeed been reduced in ISO 45001:2018. This is because preventive action is considered intrinsic to the occupational health and safety management system.


What is meant by “continual improvement”?

ISO 45001:2018 requires companies continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of their management system to prevent incidents and non-conformities and enhance performance. They must continually assess their OH&SMS and use the results to identify opportunities for improvement. The standard encourages a mindset geared towards positive culture change across the board. And for those with an eagle eye for language – yes, it’s “continual”, not “continuous”. The definition? Improvement in ISO 45001 allows for interruptions.



From the publication of the standard (March 12, 2018), organizations already certified to OSHAS 18001 have three years to migration to ISO 45001 (until March 11, 2021). It will take most organizations around one year to migration fully; and since ISO 45001 requires both senior management leadership and employee consultation, it is wise to begin as soon as possible.


Bureau Veritas is a world leader in certification. Building on our auditing and training experience, Bureau Veritas is providing a range of tools and e-learning courses, including our popular Digital Packs, to support your organization to migration to ISO 45001 smoothly and with minimal fuss.




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