ISO 45001:2018 Clause 10.1 Improvement – General

The organization shall determine opportunities for improvement and implement necessary actions to achieve the intended outcomes of its OH&S management system.

As per Annex A (Guidance on the use of ISO 45001:2018 standard) of ISO 45001:2018 standard it further explains

The organization should consider the results from analysis and evaluation of OH&S performance, evaluation of compliance, internal audits and management review when taking action to improve. Examples of improvement include corrective action, continual improvement, breakthrough change, innovation and re-organization.

Opportunities for improvement in Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) refer to areas or aspects of the organization’s safety management system that can be enhanced or optimized to improve safety performance and prevent workplace incidents. Identifying these opportunities is a crucial step in fostering a culture of continuous improvement in occupational health and safety. Here’s how an organization can determine opportunities for improvement in OH&S:

  1. Review Incident Data: Analyze incident reports, near-miss reports, and accident investigations to identify common trends, root causes, and patterns. Look for recurring issues that suggest areas needing improvement.
  2. Analyze Non-Conformities: Review non-conformities identified during audits, inspections, and assessments. Identify systemic issues or recurring non-conformities that indicate areas for improvement.
  3. Examine Performance Metrics: Evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) related to OH&S, such as injury rates, lost workdays, and incident severity. A consistent negative trend or performance below targets may indicate areas for improvement.
  4. Worker Feedback: Solicit feedback from workers through surveys, suggestion programs, safety committees, and direct communication. Workers often have valuable insights into potential safety improvements.
  5. Incident Investigation: Thoroughly investigate incidents and near-misses to uncover the root causes. This process can reveal underlying issues that need addressing.
  6. Audit and Inspection Findings: Assess findings from internal and external audits, safety inspections, and regulatory assessments. Determine if there are recurring findings or areas of weakness.
  7. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Regularly review changes in laws and regulations related to OH&S to ensure ongoing compliance. Identify any gaps in compliance that require attention.
  8. Benchmarking: Compare your organization’s OH&S performance and practices with industry benchmarks and best practices. Identify areas where your organization falls behind or has opportunities to excel.
  9. Risk Assessments: Conduct risk assessments and hazard analyses to identify potential risks and opportunities for risk reduction or elimination.
  10. Training and Competency: Evaluate the effectiveness of OH&S training programs and assess the competence of employees in performing their safety-related tasks. Identify gaps in knowledge and skills.
  11. Resource Allocation: Review the allocation of resources (e.g., budget, personnel, equipment) to the OH&S management system. Ensure that resources are adequate and appropriately allocated.
  12. Management Review: During the management review process, top management can identify areas where the OH&S management system can be strengthened or improved to achieve safety objectives.
  13. Technology and Tools: Assess the use of technology and tools for safety management. Consider whether adopting new technology or tools could improve safety processes and data collection.
  14. Worker Participation: Evaluate the level of worker participation and engagement in safety initiatives. Opportunities for improvement may include enhancing worker involvement in hazard reporting or safety committees.
  15. Communication: Review the effectiveness of communication channels for safety-related information. Ensure that safety messages reach all relevant stakeholders.
  16. Emergency Preparedness: Examine the organization’s emergency response and preparedness plans. Identify areas where response procedures can be improved to minimize risks during emergencies.
  17. Supplier and Contractor Management: Evaluate how suppliers and contractors are managed in terms of safety performance. Ensure that safety standards are upheld throughout the supply chain.

Once opportunities for improvement are identified, organizations should prioritize them based on factors such as severity, potential impact, and feasibility. Action plans should be developed to address these opportunities, assigning responsibilities, setting targets, and establishing timelines for implementation. Continuous monitoring and measurement of progress are essential to ensure that improvements are effectively implemented and sustained over time. Implementing necessary actions to achieve the intended outcomes of its Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system is a fundamental requirement for any organization committed to improving workplace safety. Here’s how organizations can effectively implement these actions:

  1. Identify and Prioritize Actions: Start by identifying the specific actions required to achieve the intended OH&S outcomes. These actions should align with the organization’s safety objectives and address the opportunities for improvement identified through various processes, including management reviews, incident investigations, and risk assessments.
  2. Assign Responsibilities: Clearly assign responsibilities for each action to individuals or teams within the organization. Establish accountability to ensure that the assigned parties are aware of their roles and deadlines.
  3. Set Objectives and Targets: Define clear objectives and performance targets associated with each action. These objectives should be measurable, time-bound, and aligned with the organization’s overall OH&S objectives.
  4. Allocate Resources: Provide the necessary resources, including budget, personnel, and equipment, to support the implementation of actions. Adequate resourcing is critical to ensure that actions can be carried out effectively.
  5. Develop Action Plans: Create detailed action plans for each identified action. These plans should outline the steps required, timelines, resource requirements, and milestones for tracking progress.
  6. Communication and Training: Communicate the action plans and objectives to relevant personnel, including employees, contractors, and suppliers. Ensure that employees receive any necessary training or information to carry out their roles in implementing the actions safely.
  7. Document Procedures and Processes: If the actions involve changes to procedures, processes, or work instructions, document these changes clearly and make them accessible to all affected parties.
  8. Monitoring and Measurement: Establish a system for monitoring and measuring progress toward achieving the intended outcomes. Regularly assess whether the actions are being implemented as planned and whether they are producing the desired results.
  9. Feedback and Review: Encourage feedback from employees and stakeholders regarding the effectiveness of the implemented actions. Use this feedback to make adjustments and improvements as necessary.
  10. Documentation and Records: Maintain records of the implemented actions, including any changes made, resources used, and results achieved. Proper documentation is essential for compliance, reporting, and future reference.
  11. Corrective and Preventive Actions: If issues or deviations arise during the implementation process, take corrective and preventive actions as needed to address them promptly and prevent recurrence.
  12. Continual Improvement: Foster a culture of continual improvement by regularly reviewing the effectiveness of actions and seeking additional opportunities for enhancement. Ensure that lessons learned from previous actions are applied to future initiatives.
  13. Compliance and Reporting: Ensure that all actions are carried out in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Report on safety performance as required by relevant authorities or stakeholders.
  14. Review and Management Commitment: Review the progress of actions during management review meetings. Ensure that top management demonstrates commitment to the OH&S management system and its improvement efforts.
  15. Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate milestones and achievements reached through the implementation of actions. Acknowledging success can boost employee morale and motivation.

By systematically implementing necessary actions to achieve the intended outcomes of the OH&S management system, organizations can enhance workplace safety, prevent incidents, and continuously improve their safety performance. It’s a dynamic process that requires ongoing commitment, monitoring, and adaptation to changing circumstances and goals. Considering the results from analysis and evaluation of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) performance, evaluation of compliance, internal audits, and management reviews is essential when an organization takes action to improve its OH&S management system. These inputs provide valuable insights and data that help identify areas for improvement and guide decision-making. Here’s how these inputs can inform and guide the improvement process:

  1. Analysis of OH&S Performance:
    • Incident Data Analysis: Reviewing incident data, including accident reports, near-misses, and injury statistics, helps identify trends, patterns, and common causes. This analysis can pinpoint specific hazards or processes that require attention and improvement.
    • KPI Evaluation: Assessing key performance indicators related to safety, such as incident rates, absenteeism due to injuries, and hazard identification rates, provides a quantitative assessment of safety performance. Deviations from targets or benchmarks can highlight areas for improvement.
    • Trend Analysis: Analyzing performance data over time can reveal whether safety performance is improving, deteriorating, or remaining stagnant. Recognizing trends allows organizations to take proactive action to address emerging issues or capitalize on positive changes.
  2. Evaluation of Compliance:
    • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Regularly evaluating compliance with OH&S laws, regulations, and standards ensures that the organization is meeting its legal obligations. Non-compliance issues should trigger corrective actions to address gaps in compliance.
    • Permit and License Tracking: Tracking the status of permits, licenses, and certifications related to OH&S is crucial. Ensuring that all required documentation is up-to-date and valid is a critical aspect of compliance.
  3. Internal Audits:
    • Audit Findings: The results of internal OH&S audits provide an independent assessment of the organization’s compliance with its own procedures and standards. Audit findings often reveal areas of non-conformance, process weaknesses, or opportunities for improvement.
    • Root Cause Analysis: Audit findings may also highlight the root causes of non-conformities or issues. This information is valuable for addressing the underlying problems and preventing recurrence.
  4. Management Review:
    • Management Review Outputs: The outputs of management review meetings, such as decisions, action items, and strategic considerations, provide a high-level perspective on the effectiveness of the OH&S management system. They may identify systemic issues or opportunities for improvement.
    • Strategic Direction Implications: Management review discussions often touch on the strategic direction of the organization. Any implications for OH&S stemming from these discussions should inform the improvement agenda.

To take action to improve the OH&S management system effectively:

  • Prioritize Improvement Opportunities: Based on the inputs mentioned above, prioritize improvement opportunities. Determine which issues require immediate attention, which can be addressed in the short term, and which are longer-term goals.
  • Develop Action Plans: Create detailed action plans for each improvement opportunity. These plans should outline the specific actions to be taken, responsible parties, timelines, resource requirements, and success criteria.
  • Engage Stakeholders: Involve relevant stakeholders, including employees, safety committees, and management, in the improvement process. Seek their input, ideas, and feedback to ensure a holistic approach to improvement.
  • Monitor Progress: Establish a system for monitoring and measuring progress toward achieving the improvement goals. Regularly assess whether the actions taken are producing the desired results and adjust the plans as needed.
  • Review and Adjust: Continually review the effectiveness of actions and assess whether they have addressed the identified issues. Adjust strategies and plans as necessary based on ongoing evaluations.

By integrating these inputs into the improvement process, organizations can systematically enhance their OH&S management systems, reduce risks, and create safer working environments for their employees. This approach fosters a culture of continual improvement in occupational health and safety. Here are examples of different types of improvement in the context of OH&S:

  1. Corrective Action: Corrective actions are taken to address specific issues or non-conformities that have been identified. These actions are typically reactive and aim to prevent the recurrence of incidents or non-compliance. Examples include:
    • Conducting a root cause analysis and implementing corrective measures following a workplace accident.
    • Rectifying a safety procedure or process that has been identified as ineffective during an internal audit.
  2. Continual Improvement: Continual improvement is an ongoing process of making incremental enhancements to the OH&S management system. It involves identifying and addressing opportunities for improvement in a systematic manner. Examples include:
    • Regularly reviewing and updating safety policies and procedures based on changing conditions or new information.
    • Encouraging employees to submit safety improvement suggestions and acting on those suggestions.
  3. Breakthrough Change: Breakthrough changes involve significant and transformative shifts in how the organization approaches OH&S. These changes can result in substantial improvements in safety performance. Examples include:
    • Implementing a new safety management system software that enhances incident reporting and tracking capabilities.
    • Overhauling the organization’s safety culture through comprehensive leadership training and cultural change initiatives.
  4. Innovation: Innovation in OH&S refers to the development and adoption of new technologies, practices, or approaches that enhance safety performance. Examples include:
    • Implementing wearable technology that provides real-time health and safety data to workers, allowing for immediate intervention in case of hazards.
    • Using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) training simulations to improve worker training and hazard recognition skills.
  5. Re-Organization: Re-organizing the structure or processes within the organization can lead to improved safety outcomes. Examples include:
    • Restructuring safety committees to increase worker involvement and enhance their impact on safety decisions.
    • Revising reporting lines and responsibilities to ensure that safety is integrated into all aspects of the organization.
  6. Training and Skill Development: Investing in the training and skill development of employees can lead to improved safety performance. Examples include:
    • Providing specialized training for employees working in high-risk areas or with specific equipment.
    • Offering leadership training to supervisors and managers to enhance their safety leadership skills.
  7. Behavior-Based Safety Programs: Implementing behavior-based safety programs focuses on changing and reinforcing safe behaviors among employees. Examples include:
    • Conducting regular safety observations and providing immediate feedback to employees.
    • Recognizing and rewarding safe behaviors and practices.
  8. Benchmarking and Best Practices: Comparing the organization’s safety practices and performance with industry benchmarks and best practices can highlight areas for improvement. Examples include:
    • Benchmarking incident rates and safety KPIs against industry standards.
    • Adopting best practices from organizations recognized for their exemplary safety records.
  9. Environmental Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) Certification: Seeking certification under recognized EHSMS standards (e.g., ISO 45001) can drive systematic improvement in OH&S. Examples include:
    • Pursuing ISO 45001 certification to establish a robust OH&S management system.
    • Regularly conducting internal audits to maintain compliance with EHSMS standards.

Each of these examples represents a different approach to improving OH&S within an organization. The choice of improvement strategies will depend on the organization’s specific needs, goals, and resources. Effective improvement efforts often involve a combination of these strategies to create a comprehensive approach to safety management.

Documented Information required


  1. OH&S Improvement Procedure: A documented procedure that outlines how the organization plans, implements, monitors, and reviews improvements within the OH&S management system.
  2. Improvement Action Plans: Records of improvement action plans, including the identification of improvement opportunities, objectives, targets, responsible parties, timelines, and resource requirements.
  3. Change Management Documentation: Documentation related to changes made to the OH&S management system as part of improvement initiatives. This may include change requests, impact assessments, approvals, and updated procedures or work instructions.
  4. Communication Plans: Plans or strategies for communicating improvement initiatives and progress to relevant stakeholders, including employees, workers’ representatives, and management.


  1. Improvement Opportunity Records: Records of identified opportunities for improvement in OH&S. These records should include details of the opportunity, the source of identification (e.g., incident reports, audits), and initial assessments.
  2. Improvement Action Records: Records of actions taken to address improvement opportunities. These records should include details of actions, responsible parties, timelines, and outcomes.
  3. Monitoring and Measurement Records: Records of data collected during the monitoring and measurement of OH&S performance indicators and improvement targets.
  4. Review Meeting Minutes: Minutes and records of management review meetings that discuss improvement initiatives, progress, and decisions related to improvement.
  5. Training and Competence Records: Records of training and competency assessments related to employees and personnel involved in improvement activities.
  6. Feedback and Suggestions Records: Records of feedback, suggestions, and input received from employees, workers’ representatives, and other stakeholders regarding OH&S improvement.
  7. Corrective and Preventive Action Records: Records of corrective and preventive actions taken as a result of identified improvement opportunities, non-conformities, or incident investigations.
  8. Communication Records: Records of communication related to OH&S improvement initiatives, including internal and external communications, memos, emails, and reports.
  9. Audit Findings Records: Records of findings from internal and external OH&S audits, including findings related to improvement opportunities.
  10. Resource Allocation Records: Records related to the allocation of resources (e.g., budget, personnel, equipment) for improvement activities within the OH&S management system.
  11. Compliance Records: Records demonstrating compliance with legal and regulatory requirements related to OH&S improvement initiatives.
  12. Documentation of Lessons Learned: Records of lessons learned from past improvement initiatives, including assessments of their effectiveness and any adjustments made for future improvements.

Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Improvement Procedure

1. Purpose:The purpose of this procedure is to establish a systematic approach for identifying, planning, implementing, and monitoring improvements within the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system to enhance safety performance and prevent workplace incidents. This procedure is in accordance with the requirements of ISO 45001:2018.

2. Scope: This procedure applies to all employees, contractors, and relevant stakeholders involved in OH&S improvement activities within [Organization Name].

3. Definitions:

  • Improvement Opportunity: A specific situation or area within the OH&S management system where enhancements can be made to improve safety performance and prevent incidents.
  • Improvement Action: A planned and documented set of activities taken to address an identified improvement opportunity and achieve OH&S objectives and targets.

4. Procedure:

4.1. Identification of Improvement Opportunities:

4.1.1. Improvement opportunities may be identified through various means, including but not limited to:

  • Incident and accident reports.
  • Near-miss reports.
  • Internal and external OH&S audits.
  • Management review meetings.
  • Worker feedback and suggestions.
  • Hazard identification and risk assessments.

4.1.2. All identified improvement opportunities shall be documented, including details of the opportunity, its source, and an initial assessment.

4.2. Evaluation and Prioritization:

4.2.1. The OH&S team, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, shall evaluate and prioritize improvement opportunities based on factors such as severity, potential impact, and feasibility.

4.2.2. Improvement opportunities shall be categorized as high, medium, or low priority based on the evaluation.

4.3. Planning Improvement Actions:

4.3.1. For each identified improvement opportunity, an improvement action plan shall be developed. The plan shall include:

  • Description of the improvement opportunity.
  • Objectives and targets for improvement.
  • Responsible parties.
  • Timelines for completion.
  • Resource requirements.
  • Success criteria and performance indicators.

4.3.2. The OH&S team shall ensure that improvement action plans are aligned with the organization’s OH&S objectives and targets.

4.4. Implementation of Improvement Actions:

4.4.1. Responsible parties shall execute the improvement actions according to the established plans.

4.4.2. Any changes or modifications to procedures, processes, or practices resulting from improvement actions shall be documented and communicated to relevant personnel.

4.5. Monitoring and Measurement:

4.5.1. Progress toward achieving improvement objectives and targets shall be regularly monitored and measured.

4.5.2. Data and performance indicators shall be collected, analyzed, and reported as part of the monitoring process.

4.6. Review and Adjustment:

4.6.1. The OH&S team shall periodically review the effectiveness of improvement actions and adjust plans as necessary based on the results of monitoring and measurement.

4.6.2. Lessons learned from improvement initiatives shall be documented and applied to future improvement efforts.

5. Records: Records related to the identification, planning, implementation, and monitoring of improvement actions shall be maintained and documented in accordance with the organization’s document control procedures.

6. Training: Employees and relevant personnel shall be trained and informed about their roles and responsibilities in the OH&S improvement process.

7. Communication: Progress, results, and lessons learned from improvement actions shall be communicated to relevant stakeholders, including employees, workers’ representatives, and management.

8. Review and Approval: This OH&S Improvement Procedure shall be reviewed and approved by [Name and Title of Approving Authority] and shall be subject to periodic reviews and updates as necessary.

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