ISO 45001 is already in ill health

This is about the terms “ill health” and “incident” in the first draft of ISO 45001.
(See also clauses 3.8 and 3.9 in OHSAS 18001:2007.)

  • Ill health
    • ISO 45001: The first draft of ISO 45001 explains in line 322, that the overall objective of the OH&S management system is to prevent injury or ill health arising out of, linked with or occurring in the course of work. But there is no definition of “ill health”. (In clause 3.09 the draft states, that “occupational diseases are a type of ill health”, but that doesn’t define “ill health”.)
    • OHSAS 18001: In clause 3.8 of OHSAS 18001:2007 “ill health” is defined as “Identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity and/or work-related situation.”
  • Incident
    • ISO 45001: In clause 3.19A of the ISO 45001 draft, “incident” is defined as “occurrence arising out of or in the course of work that could or does result in death, injury or ill health”.
    • OHSAS 18001: In clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007, “incident” is defined as “Work-related event(s) in which an injury or ill health (regardless of severity) or fatality occurred, or could have occurred.” In ISO 45001 there is no “(regardless of severity)”.

Even though ISO 45001 claims that the overall objective of the OH&S management system is to prevent injury or ill health, the important terms “ill health” and “injury” are not defined in “3 Terms and definitions”. How strange! In OHSAS 18001:2007 there is a definition at least for “Ill health”. Without that good and important definition, ISO 45001 already is in ill health.
The word “mental” only appears once in the ISO 45001 draft. “An organization is responsible for ensuring its people are able to work in a manner that is safe and which protects their physical and mental health.” But that is not part of the standard. You find it in the introduction only (clause “0.1 Background”). So there is no mentioning of mental health in the standard, although this is a very hot topic in these days.
The omission of “(regardless of severity)” is interesting. I know of a large OHSAS 18001 certified European company where the OH&S manual had been upgraded from OHSAS 18001:1999 to OHSAS 18001:2007. Seemingly “(regardless of severity)” didn’t suit them too well, so they just dropped it from the definition of the term “incident” in their OH&S manual. The CAB didn’t mind, but an employee addressed that to the works council. The employer could be convinced to use the complete definition as it can be found in clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007. A mentioning of “Ill health” in the definition of “Incident” in ISO 45001 without “”(regardless of severity)” makes it easier for employers to avoid the registration and investigation of an “incident” which could or does result in ill health. Especially if mental ill health regardless of severity could have been caused by an incident, the employer may not want to have such incidents to be mentioned in his OH&S reports.
Clause 3.19A (Definition von “incident”) in the first draft of ISO 45001: (not online anymore)