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How to perform the initial Management Review in ISO 45001

Updated 2018-12-04 according to ISO 45001

For many organizations in many sectors, ISO 45001 accreditation is a necessity. ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Management System) is an ISO Standard designed to ensure that good health and safety practices are established, met, and continually improved within the workplace to the benefit of all stakeholders and employees. It is widely accepted that ISO 45001 is particularly important in certain sectors, such as construction for example; however, all organizations in every sector have a duty of care toward their staff in terms of health and safety. Therefore, one constant within the 45001 standard comes in clause 9.3, which states:

“Top management shall review the organization’s OH&S management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.”

In other words, every organization needs to perform a periodic review to establish, maintain, and improve the system. So, how do we go about this?

First management review: What do I need?

If you are familiar with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, you may be familiar with the importance of the management review process, which can be seen in this article, entitled The importance of management review in the ISO 14001:2015 process. If anything, this review is even more critical in the ISO 45001 standard, as the result of poor processes and poor decision making can be grave in terms of employee injury if robust processes are not constructed, and excellent methods of review and improvement are not established. So, let us take a look at the criteria we need to satisfy:

  • Ensure your organization’s top management are involved in the whole process, with no exceptions.
  • Ensure that your OH&S Policy is strong (Learn more: How to write an OH&S Policy).
  • Ensure your documentation is strong (Learn more: Which criteria to apply when deciding about OHSAS 18001 documentation).
  • Enlist the help of your employees. They will have critical information and experience that can help you see dangers, assess risk, and drive improvements.
  • Define meaningful objectives and targets. Always use input and feedback from stakeholders. The more information you have, the more rounded and informed your objective setting will be.
  • Make risk assessment and internal auditing central to your process. Constant evaluation and improvement are critical to any ISO 45001 project, as is being able to demonstrate this to your auditor.
  • Communicate effectively. Establishing excellent processes is counteracted if communication is not effective.
  • Research your ISO 45001 system’s desired inputs and outputs correctly. This is critical in establishing your objectives and understanding what you are looking to achieve.
  • Research your local legislation thoroughly. This is critical to protect both your employees and your organization (Learn more: How to identify and comply with legal requirements in ISO 45001.
  • Ensure your corrective action and continual improvement processes are robust and effective. Effective root cause analysis and corrective action are at the heart of a good OH&S management system (Learn more: Seven steps for corrective and preventive actions in the OH&S management system).
  • Ensure your first management review is accurately documented for future reference.

Please note that the above does not cover every requirement of the ISO 45001 standard, but represents some critical aspects that must be represented.

Management review done, what now?

Your work is not over – in fact, it is only just beginning. Your OH&S management system may now be operational, but the continual improvement aspect is even more critical to your system with the quality or environmental aspects. Failure to improve means that your employees, reputation, and business could be at risk, so your organization must ensure that your improvement cycle continues. Continue to use the tools that ISO 45001 suggests to measure, assess, and improve your process as the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” cycle determines. Continue to use your eyes and ears to assess risk informally on a daily basis, and take preventive action if necessary. Always take feedback from employees and stakeholders seriously, as the people closest to the process are often best placed to help with improvement. Confront problems head on, and don’t hesitate; the safety of your employees and the future of your business may depend on it.

Why not use our ISO 45001 Gap Analysis Tool to measure where your OH&S management system stands versus the requirements of the standard.

Advisera John Nolan
John Nolan
John Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Leaders and Managers in the United Kingdom, and Prince 2 accredited with a background in Engineering and Electronics and Data Storage and Transfer. Having studied and qualified as both a Mechanical and Electronic Engineer, he has spent the last 15 years designing and delivering Quality Systems and projects across many sectors in the UK, including both national and local government.