ISO 45001 Certification : Occupational health and safety standards

ISO 45001 certification, succeeding OHSAS 18001, provides a solid framework for a management system. Discover its criteria, benefits and international recognition, highlighting its importance for your organization.

What is ISO 45001 certification ?

The ISO 45001 certification defines an international framework for occupational health and safety (OSH) management systems. Its objective is to help companies identify and neutralize hazards to the health and safety of employees and visitors, minimize the risk of accidents and occupational diseases, and comply with existing laws.

Based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act method, this standard proposes a systematic approach to risk management and optimization of OHS performance. It highlights the importance of leadership engagement, employee engagement, risk identification and assessment, compliance with legal requirements, emergency management, incident analysis and continuous improvement.

Adaptable to any company, regardless of its size or sector, ISO 45001 certification is compatible with other ISO management standards, such as those concerning quality, environment or energy. It replaces OHSAS 18001 standard, which, unlike ISO 45001, was not an ISO standard and offered less consistent guidance.

To obtain this certification of conformity, companies must develop an OHS management system that meets the criteria of the standard and then have it validated by an accredited certification body. Having the ISO 45001 certification confirms the successful application of these standards and the existence of an effective OHS management system within the organization.

When should you consider ISO 45001 certification ?

ISO 45001 certification provides an excellent opportunity for organizations to improve their occupational health and safety performance. Here are some situations where it becomes relevant :

  • When reducing the risk of accidents and occupational diseases is a priority to avoid significant human, financial and legal impacts.
  • If you want to prove your commitment to the health and safety of your employees and stakeholders, thus improving your brand image, reputation and competitiveness.
  • When you aim to align with legislation and regulations, avoiding sanctions or legal actions in the countries where you operate.
  • If integrating health and safety at the heart of your business strategy and operations, through a proactive and collaborative approach, matters to you.
  • When harmonization of your health and safety practices with international standards to facilitate international trade is desired.
  • If gaining a competitive advantage by distinguishing yourself from non-certified ISO 45001 organizations is one of your goals.


Opting for ISO 45001 certification is therefore a wise decision for any organization seeking to improve its occupational health and safety management system while enjoying concrete benefits.

What are the differences between 45001 certification, ISO 18001 certification and ILO-OSH 2001 certification ?

When it comes to occupational health and safety standards, ISO 45001 certification is often the most frequently mentioned. However, it is not the only standard in this area. Other important standards, such as the OHSAS 18001 certification and the ILO-OSH 2001 certification, share common points while showing significant differences. Here is a breakdown of the main distinctions between these standards :

  • The OHSAS 18001 certification, established in the United Kingdom in 1999 and revised in 2007, defines the criteria for an occupational health and safety management system. However, this standard is not recognized by ISO and has not been adopted in all countries. In 2018, it was superseded by ISO 45001 certification. Entities certified under OHSAS 18001 had until 2021 to transition to the new certification.
  • The ILO-OSH 2001 certification, published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2001, provides guidelines for the implementation of an occupational health and safety management system. However, unlike ISO 45001, it is not a certifiable standard and does not prescribe specific requirements. It is nevertheless compatible with the ISO 45001 standard, which is based on the ILO’s international conventions and labour standards.
  • Published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2018, ISO 45001 certification clearly sets out the requirements for an occupational health and safety management system, based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act method. This standard integrates health and safety at the heart of the organization’s overall strategy, engaging management and workers in proactive risk management. It is also compatible with other ISO management standards, covering quality, environment and energy.


In summary, ISO 45001 certification stands out as the most up-to-date, comprehensive and widely recognized standard for occupational health and safety management. It marks a significant improvement over the OHSAS 18001 and ILO-OSH 2001 standards, which remain valuable references for organizations wishing to optimize their performance in these areas.

What are the criteria for obtaining ISO 45001 certification ?

To obtain an ISO 45001 certification, the structures must comply with the following criteria :

Implement an OHS management system in accordance with the standard

This system must be based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act strategy, including :

  • An OHS policy defining the objectives and commitments of the organization in occupational health and safety.
  • Planning identifying OHS hazards and risks, as well as actions and resources to manage them.
  • Implementation ensuring the implementation of planned actions, training and staff awareness, internal and external communication, as well as documentation and operational control.
  • An evaluation that measures OHS performance, conducts internal audits and management reviews, and manages non-conformities and corrective actions.
  • An improvement targeting opportunities for continuous improvement and the implementation of changes necessary to achieve OHS objectives.

Have the OSH management system audited by an accredited certification body

The evaluating body must be recognised by an accreditation body certifying its impartiality and competence. The audit consists of two stages :

  • A literature review to verify the adequacy of the SST management system with ISO 45001 standards, highlighting strengths and weaknesses.
  • An on-site inspection to assess the practical application of the SST management system and identify deviations and recommendations.


Once the audit is successful, the certifying body grants an ISO 45001 certificate, valid for three years and subject to annual controls.

What are the benefits of ISO 45001 certification for companies ?

ISO 45001 certification offers a range of benefits to companies looking to improve their health and safety performance in the workplace. Let’s discover these benefits together :

Protecting the health and safety of workers and stakeholders

ISO 45001 certification plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of accidents and occupational diseases. This protects the health and safety of not only employees but also stakeholders - including customers, suppliers and subcontractors. This effort contributes significantly to the preservation of the company’s human capital, reduces the costs associated with sick leave, medical treatment or financial compensation, while avoiding legal consequences or penalties in the event ofcompliance with legal obligations.

Strengthen the reputation and competitiveness of the company

Achieving ISO 45001 certification demonstrates a strong commitment to occupational health and safety, which in turn strengthens the company’s reputation and competitiveness. This helps improve stakeholder relationships, build customer loyalty, open up to new markets, motivate and retain employees, while distinguishing themselves from competitors.

Integrating occupational health and safety into the company’s overall strategy

Making health and safety an integral part of a company’s overall strategy through ISO 45001 certification cultivates a culture of prevention and continuous improvement. This integration encourages active engagement of both management and employees in risk management, optimization of operational procedures, innovation, adaptation to change, and ensures alignment with other ISO management standards, such as those relating to quality, the environment or energy.

Which countries recognize ISO 45001 certification ?

The ISO 45001 certification is recognized worldwide, based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions ratified by more than 180 countries. It also complies with local and regional laws on safety and health at work, including European regulation 2016/425. The following is a list of nations that accept this certification :

Member countries of the European Union

In the European Union (EU), ISO 45001 certification is seen as a guarantee of compliance with the standards of Regulation 2016/425 on personal protective equipment (PPE). This regulation ensures the protection of health and safety for PPE users and facilitates the harmonisation of standards and conformity assessment procedures. Thus, having the ISO 45001 certification can help organizations enter the European market more easily.

Member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) see ISO 45001 certification as a way to strengthen economic integration and cooperation. The 2015 Vientiane Declaration emphasizes the adoption of ILO standards and encourages ISO 45001 certification to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of ASEAN companies.

Member countries of the Southern Common Market

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) considers ISO 45001 certification to be essential for improving the well-being of workers. The 2018 Montevideo Declaration highlights the importance of social dialogue, hazard prevention, training, and strongly encourages ISO 45001 certification to promote integration and cooperation in the bloc.

Who can issue an ISO 45001 certification ?

ISO 45001 certifications are granted by autonomous certification bodies. These bodies must be accredited by official accreditation bodies. It is crucial that these certification bodies comply with international standards and conformity assessment principles, specifically ISO/IEC 17021-10. This process includes rigorous monitoring of the quality of the audits carried out as well as the certifications issued.

It is important to note that there are a multitude of certification bodies capable of delivering ISO 45001 certification. However, not all are equal in terms of competence, reliability and international recognition. To choose an appropriate certification body, it is essential to ensure that it has the necessary experience to effectively evaluate your occupational health and safety management system, and that it has an excellent reputation. Here are the things to consider when choosing :

  • Accreditation by a recognized entity, ensuring that the certification body meets the criteria of ISO/IEC 17021-10 and is qualified to audit according to ISO 45001.
  • The specificity of the accreditation, indicating the areas of activity and technical skills for which the organization is authorized to grant ISO 45001 certification.
  • The geographical scope of certification, defining the countries or regions where the organization can conduct audits and grant ISO 45001 certification.
  • The reputation and reputation of the organization, reflecting the satisfaction and trust of customers and stakeholders.
  • The cost and time of certification, which varies according to the size, complexity and location of the organization to be audited, as well as the rates and availability of the certification body.


Obtaining ISO 45001 certification requires the use of accredited certification bodies. The choice of these organizations must be carefully considered, taking into account their competence, reliability and market recognition.

La procédure classique

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

1

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

2

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

3

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