Quality Management

Spotlight on AS/NZS 4801 and ISO 45001

Workplace related injuries are costing Australian businesses up to millions of dollars each year. AS/NZS 4801 or ISO 45001 certified businesses follow safe practices and reduce the risk of workplace health and safety disasters.

Barry Fairman

The most commonly known and accepted Australian safe work certification is AS/NZS 4801. However, the international standard ISO 45001 has gained a lot of popularity and has become widely accepted worldwide.

In this article, we’ll cover the following points about the differences between the two certifications:

  • What is AS/NZS 4801 and does your business need it?
  • What is ISO 45001 and does your business need to comply?
  • What are the main differences between AS/NZS 4801 and ISO 45001?

Let’s begin with a well-known certification for Australian businesses, AS/NZS 4801.

What is AS/NZS 4801 and why does your business need it?

Workplace safety is non-negotiable, no matter what industry you’re in. Not complying with the existing WHS laws can result in thousands of dollars in litigation costs, a drain on resources and a damaged brand reputation.

AS/NZS 4801 (occupational health and safety management systems) is a common certification used by Australian businesses. This certification ensures businesses comply with WHS laws and create a safe workplace for their employees and stakeholders.

Benefits of attaining AS/NZS 4801 certification include:

  • A reduction in workplace accidents and injuries – employees are responsible to carry out safety procedures while working.
  • More business opportunities – employees know you value their safety and will be more open to business opportunities and change.
  • Suppliers and manufacturers are covered – third parties can use your certification to ensure the safety of their own staff while working in your business.

If you have an Australian business then you should look towards becoming certified. We’ll explain further below.

What is ISO 45001 and does your business need it?

ISO 45001 also refers to occupational health and safety management. In simple terms, it is one of the most recent and reliable international standards for holding organisations and individuals responsible for safe work systems across global supply chains.

The legislation provides a framework to reduce the number of work-related injuries.

If your business operates internationally under OHSAS 18001, your existing certification body will send you information about the migration to ISO 45001. If you haven’t received a letter yet, we recommend beginning the process soon, because you will need to undergo audits before receiving the new certification.

If you only perform work within Australia but would like to become ISO 45001 certified, you’ll need to reach out to a qualified auditor such as QMS to become certified.

After you sign a three-year certification contract with an auditor, you will need to undergo audits to ensure your business complies with standards. Here are the three steps you are required to complete to become ISO 45001 certified:

  • Gap analysis – how does your existing system align with the new standard? Are there any processes or systems that need to be added?
  • Integrate – this is your opportunity to refine processes and integrate them into your management system to ensure you comply with ISO 14001 standards
  • Educate – educate your workers on the new health and safety procedures

Differences between AS/NZS 4801 and ISO 45001

Why go through the lengthy ISO 45001 certification process if you’re an Australia-based business? There are major benefits found in the ISO 45001 legislation.

Complying with these changes will ensure the maximum safety of employees. Here are the most important differences that make the ISO 45001 certification worthwhile for Australian businesses:

  • Senior management is now responsible for the 13 responsibilities previously allocated to the Management Representative in the AS/NZS 4801 certification
  • Businesses will need to include documented procedures for topics such as hazard management and training
  • Organisations need to make additional commitments to their health and safety policy. One of the changes includes a commitment to eliminating all hazards and reducing OH&S risks
  • Organisations need to identify risks and opportunities related to the making, operating and maintaining the management system
  • Businesses are responsible for extending workplace health and safety procedures for contractors and other parties.
AZ/NZS 4801 vs. ISO 45001

Start the ISO 45001 certification process today

You should start getting ISO 45001 certified today, whether you operate across Australia or globally.

Want the 2 second summary of who these certifications apply to?

  • AS/NZ 4801 will remain as a standard and relevant for many Australian businesses
  • ISO 45001 will become another standard that becomes more widely accepted.

If you only operate Australia-wide, you can still look at becoming ISO 45001 certified to ensure your workplace covers the new important safety processes listed above.

Ready for QMS to help you take the lead?

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