ISO 45000 and 4HSE: Why Computerize the Occupational Health and Safety Management System


The international standard ISO 45001 establishes the requirements and provides guidelines for implementing an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS).

More precisely, the international standard UNI ISO 45001:2018 replaces the British standard OHSAS 18001, establishing that all organizations with a certified OHSMS will have until 2021 to transition to the new international standard.

The ISO 45001 certification was developed to mitigate all risk factors that can cause harm to companies and their employees and is applicable to any organization (regardless of size, type, and nature) that wants to undertake a structured approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) management, improving performance in terms of preventing injuries and illnesses.

The main difference of this standard compared to the previous OHSAS 18001 is the emphasis it places on risk management, encouraging companies to adopt a risk-based approach to identify sources or situations that could cause harm to the entire system.

Goals and benefits

ISO 45001 represents a breakthrough in occupational health and safety. For the first time, all companies have the opportunity to refer to a single, internationally uniform standard that provides a clear path for developing appropriate measures.

The two main results that the standard aims to achieve are:

  • Continuous improvement of occupational safety performance
  • Achievement of established objectives

We could essentially see it as the application of the PDCA Cycle (or Deming Cycle) logic used for process and product management:

  • Plan: Planning objectives and processes necessary to achieve the expected results.
  • Do: Execution and implementation of the plan.
  • Check: Checking the results obtained and comparing them with the expected ones.
  • Act: Did the implemented plan have the desired effects? Can it be improved? This is the phase in which the definitive operation of the implemented process and/or its improvement is carried out.

How can we translate this continuous improvement cycle into practice?

  • Establish systematic processes that take into account risks and opportunities related to various contexts.
  • Determine what these risks are and what to do to eliminate or mitigate their effects.
  • Establish operational controls.
  • Evaluate the performance of the adopted occupational health and safety model, trying to improve it with appropriate actions.
  • Ensure that workers take an active role in EHS issues.

All this translates into:

  • Improvement of response times
  • Reduction of incidents and overall costs
  • Reduction of downtime and interruption costs
  • Improvement of worker-company empathy

A computerized management of EHS

ISO 45001 provides guidelines but does not establish a specific methodology for risk analysis, which remains at the discretion of the technician-professional.

This is because, if we think about it, the real need of any company or organization is not so much to evaluate the effects of a specific risk or to know the expiration of a protective device, but to arrive at an overall vision of all aspects related to occupational safety… and therefore:

  • Mapping of environments, equipment, and substances
  • PPE: how many are available, type, delivery, and expiration
  • Training: organization of courses and editions, workers to be trained and already trained
  • Health Surveillance: visits and prescriptions
  • Maintenance: status of maintenance, plans, and orders
  • Event log: Focus on injuries, incidents, and near misses
  • Risk assessment
  • Certificates and suitability
  • Deadline management

4HSE is a tool designed with the aim of having all information related to the state of health and safety within the workplace available in one place, through computerized management that simplifies procedures and minimizes documentation.

A tool designed to achieve that overall vision and collaboration among all parties involved in the OHSMS, transforming needs into software functionalities.