ISO 45001 Could be Published by March 2018

By HSE East Africa | Monday Oct 2, 2017

The finished ISO 45001 standard on occupational health and safety is due to be published before the end of March next year, but only after a third and final vote on a revised draft standard, the International Organization for Standardization has said. 

The announcement came after a week-long meeting of an ISO 45001 working group, which sought to iron out the concerns raised by national standards bodies’ (NSBs) about the second draft standard (DIS2).  

The working group – part of project committee 283 (PC283), the committee overseeing the development of the replacement for British Standard OSHAS 18001 – met in Malacca, Malaysia between 18 and 23 September. 

Its task was to examine comments on the second draft which, according to the PC283 webpage, ran to approximately 1630. The NSBs submitted the comments at the same time as they voted to approve the second draft earlier in the summer.   

According to sources familiar with the process, the working group will submit the revised text to the wider project committee for a decision on whether to proceed straight to publication or to opt for a vote on a final draft international standard, or FDIS. This decision would have to be approved by the ISO's central secretariat. 

It is understood that PC283 has now decided to create an FDIS, suggesting that the text of DIS2 will be sufficiently changed to warrant further consultation.

Speaking at a press conference in Malaysia following the conclusion of the meeting, ISO technical programme manager José Alcorta, who sits on PC283, said that the committee hoped to publish the completed standard by March 2018.

“If we are successful in getting the final draft out and the votes are positive for the final draft, then it will be published in the first quarter of next year,” he said, according to the Malaysian newspaper The New Straits Times. 

The FDIS will again be voted on by NSBs, although the timing of the third ballot is not known. However, unlike the consultation process for DIS2, there will be no opportunity for NSBs to submit comments on the text. 

Fifty three participating NSBs approved DIS2 during balloting between 19 May and 15 July. Discounting the six abstentions, this represented an 88% approval rate. NSBs that voted in favour of DIS2 included the UK (represented by the British Standards Institution), the US, Canada, China and Australia.

Only seven countries, or 11%, voted against DIS2, including Spain, Germany, France and India. 

New Zealand, Qatar and Romania were among the abstentions.

A draft standard can only proceed to publication if two-thirds of participating NSBs approve it, and no more than 25% vote against it. This meant that the first draft of the standard, DIS1, was discarded last summer after more than 25% of the standards bodies voted against it. 

Over 3000 comments were submitted by NBSs in response to the original text.

According to the BSI, these comments centred on changes to the definitions of key concepts, including “worker”, “participation” and “hazard”. 

Meanwhile, the British Standards Institute (BSI) is currently consulting on draft guidance that explains how to implement the upcoming ISO 45001 standard. It is inviting comments on how BS 45002 Occupational health and safety management systems – General guidelines for the application of ISO 45001 could be improved before the consultation closes on 10 October.

Source: Health and Safety at Work

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