It is not that organisations do not emphasise on the health and safety of their employees or workers. Often they do have a definite set of practices or a health and safety policy meant for the better care and welfare of the employees. However, having an OH&S management system that is certified with an international standard like ISO 45001 certification is more convincing and beneficial to employees.

However, many organisations have not considered getting implementing a strict OH&S management framework and getting ISO 45001 certified. While there are many clear benefits that an ISO-certified OH&S management system gives, some organisations may be worried about overcoming challenges that they may encounter while changing their OH&S policy to the ISO 45001 level. This article mentions the most significant challenges.


The requirements or clauses of the ISO 45001 standard can be broad, just like the ISO 9001 requirements. The OH&S management system has to be implemented is usually comprehensive, as it has to address every safety risk. This includes preventing workplace risks or hazards, identifying employee distress, and minimising insurance premiums. The ISO standard mentions whatever is needed to implement a highly effective OH&S management system, such as terms, definitions, the context of the organisation, planning, leadership involvement, employee participation, and performance evaluation and modes of communication.

Identifying Social Influences

Risks caused to employees in the organisations are not always due to faulty machinery, unhygienic workplace, or unsafe practices for the production of goods. Many social factors influence the workplace conditions and can harm the wellbeing of workers, like excess workload, prolonged work hours, bullying, inappropriate pay cuts, non-cooperative teams, and so forth. Though organisations will have these factors exist to some extent, an OH&S management system is needed to address them. They are most deep within the work culture of the organisation, so sometimes employee safety seems to remain unaddressed.

Elimination of Hazards

The key purpose of implementing an OH&S management system is to address the risks or occupational hazards to the workers. The ISO 45001 standard focuses on eliminating risks with anticipatory methods like hazard identification, pre-assessment of internal and external risks, and determining effective controls. It is needed for organisations to emphasise more on early risk management such as the use of personal protective equipment rather than guiding workers with simple safety procedures and providing them with insurance and recovery costs later.

Coordination Problem

An organisation with many large projects that are executed with associations of multiple other organisations, workplace situations are more complex. Therefore, the key elements of their OH&S management system are difficult to determine. Relevant aspects of the OH&S policies should be included to establish a common and comprehensive management system. Thus, the key challenge for the organisation is to ensure that the OH&S safety requirements are met on every project, even if multiple organizations are a part of the project.


There are several other challenges to add to this list, like the potential lack of collaboration and cooperation from employees, or the failure to document a suitable OH&S management system and make it compliant with the ISO 45001 standard. However, challenges are meant to be conquered. An organisation should never forget the benefits that implementation of the ISO 45001 standard brings such as protecting employee health, safeguarding them from injuries, and preventing any mental distress. ISO 45001 certification carries some persuasive benefits including better employee performance and productivity, more retention, and less insurance claim costs.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is a professional ISO 45001 certification consultant at a renowned ISO certification agency. With his expertise, he has assisted many business firms to deploy the right OH&S management strategy for ISO certification. He writes blogs in his free time where he talks about general topics like ISO 9001 requirements, benefits of ISO standards to small and big organisations, how to get certifications, and so forth.

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