Does ISO 45001 Replace AS/NZS 4801?

AS/NZS 4801 is currently listed as “available superseded”, which means that a 4801 certificate is still accepted. However, it’s been replaced by safety standard ISO 45001. The official transition period is 30 September 2021, with a final end date of 13 July 2023. What this means for Australian businesses is that they have to replace their AS 4801 with ISO 45001 certification. Australian organisations can easily change to the ISO 45001 certification using a JAS-ANZ accredited company. 


There are several differences between the international ISO 45001 standards and the superseded AS/NZS 4801, which we have put into a table below. 

ISO 45001AS/NZS 4801
Senior management is accountable for occupational health and safety.Management representatives are appointed to be accountable for occupational health and safety.
ISO 45001 requires organisations to provide documented procedures for hazard and risk management.There’s no need for procedures to be documented for topics such as risk and hazard management.  
Companies need to make extra commitments to their health and safety policy, such as eliminating all risks and hazards. There are no extra commitments to occupational health and safety. 
The standard requires companies to identify risks and hazards while building, using, and updating the management system.There’s no need to identify specific risks and hazards.
Companies are now responsible for the health and safety of contractors, visitors, and other parties on their sites.Each company or contractor is responsible for its health and safety.  
Companies don’t have to provide health and safety targets. Companies needed to list health and safety targets.  
Safety At work | Does ISO 45001 Replace AS/NZS 4801? | Best Practice Blog

Differences Between ISO 45001 and OHAS 18001

The international health and safety standard OHAS 18001 has also been superseded by ISO 45001. For companies with the OHAS 18001 certification and need to migrate, we have tabulated the main differences below. 

ISO 45001OHAS 18001
Top management is accountable for health and safety and can’t delegate it.  Management was able to delegate accountability for health and safety to management representatives.
ISO 45001 requires the active participation of non-management workers in health and safety processes.   OHAS 18001 was a management-driven system. 
Organisations are now responsible for all workers on their site. Each separate company on a site was responsible for its own workers’ health and safety. 
ISO 45001 provides that companies must continually identify new risks and hazards as circumstances change.OHAS 18001 was a static system with no need to adapt to changes.  

Migrating to ISO 45001

Standards Australia has mandated that ISO 45001 must replace all other occupational health and safety management systems in 2021. Australian companies have until 30 September 2021 to implement the new standards and obtain the certification. For companies that have a valid reason for retaining old certification, the end date is 13 July 2023. 

Steps to Gain Certification

A JAS-ANZ accredited company like Best Practise will take your company through the following five steps for certification to the new international standard. 

  • Inspect existing systems by doing a gap analysis. 
  • Prepare the certification documentation. 
  • Develop a management system. 
  • Implement the management system.
  • Provide internal audits and ongoing improvements. 

A reasonable timeline for migration to ISO 45001 is three months. However, a quicker migration is possible if there’s an urgent need. 

Integrated Management System (IMS)

One of the advantages of using the ISO standards is that their formats and goals are similar. Adopting an IMS allows companies to combine their management systems in an IMS. By doing this, you lessen the chance of conflict, slim down management systems, and reduce the need for separate audits. 

Many companies decide to integrate ISO 9001 with ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001 as their management systems duplicate many aspects. The initial implementation may not be as easy as doing one ISO certificate at a time. Still, the long-term benefits make it worthwhile. 

Wrapping Up 

ISO 45001 will replace all other health and safety standards in Australia in 2021. A reasonable timeline to implement a new management system successfully is three months. A more extended period results in a loss of motivation and interest. A more hastily implemented management system leads to misunderstanding. Companies migrating can also look at the IMS option, combining two or more ISO systems for efficiency. 

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