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ISO 45001 & Worker's Participation







Clause 5. Leadership and worker participation

ISO 45001: 2018 Standard is a new ISO standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) published on 12 March 2018. It is one of the most eagerly awaited standards in the world, and is set to drastically improve levels of workplace safety. It replaces BS OHSAS 18001 Standard which was also a popular standard that provided a framework in establishing organisation’s OH&S Management System since 1999.

Previously, we shared about how to demonstrate Leadership Commitment as required by ISO 9001: 2015 and ISO 14001: 2015 Standard. Today, we talk about consultation and participation of “Worker”.

With greater emphasis on the involvement of workers in the overall management of OH&S, "Worker Participation" is specifically added in Clause 5 of ISO 45001: 2018. Requirement of "Worker Participation" is further elaborated in Clause 5.4 - "Consultation and participation of workers". The requirement of consultation and participation is not entirely new as it was already stipulated under 4.4.3.2 of BS OHSAS 18001: 2007 Standard. However, we can see in the new ISO 45001 Standard that, worker participation is now having equal importance like leadership commitment for effective planning of OH&S Management System.

Locally, when we mention this word – “Worker”, we usually refer to a low ranking person whose work involves manual labour. This is not the case as defined in ISO 45001: 2018 Standard.

“Worker” definition is now listed in the ISO 45001 Standard which BS OHSAS 18001 didn’t. “Worker” is defined as “person performing work or work-related activities that are under the control of the organization.” It was further elaborated in its notes that, 

  • "Persons perform work or work-related activities under various arrangements, paid or unpaid, such as regularly or temporarily, intermittently or seasonally, casually or on a part-time basis."

  • “Workers include top management (3.12), managerial and non-managerial persons.” 

  • "The work or work-related activities performed under the control of the organization may be performed by workers employed by the organization, workers of external providers, contractors, individuals,agency workers, and by other persons to the extent the organization shares control over their work or work-related activities, according to the context of the organization."

So bear in mind that while establishing, implementing and reviewing your OH&S Management System, your “audiences” should be everyone, including your contractors, part-timers, volunteers, and even your Boss!

Let’s take a look at the summary of main aspect which “Worker” is specifically involved:


As you can see, essentially, “Worker” involvement is everywhere in the ISO 45001: 2018 Standard. Organisation should always, as relevant as possible, involve all levels of its staff and contractor in the establishment, implementation and review of its OH&S Management System.

ISO 45001: 2018 Standard is all about worker. Of Course! Who else are we protecting?!

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