How Safety Software can you help comply with ISO 45001


Health & Safety manager reviewing ISO 45001 documents and safety software

So, your organization has charged you and your team with implementing and complying with ISO 45001 -Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard and you are looking easy to use tools to comply with this standard.

This blog article describes how safety management software in general and the Vector EHS Management software, in particular, can assist you with complying with the different components of the standard, including:

  • Leadership and worker participation
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance evaluation and
  • Improvement

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management Systems is a global standard for managing your occupational health and safety programs to ensure worker safety. It outlines requirements to follow as well as guidelines and suggestions for easier compliance.

It was published in March of 2018 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help organizations reduce work-related accidents or diseases worldwide. It’s important for you to know that ISO 45001 replaces OHSAS 18001; a British standard utilized by many organizations looking for an international uniform approach to health and safety.

You will still need to prepare for changes even if you are already compliant with OHSAS 18001. Many of the differences between the new ISO 45001 standard and the OHSAS 18001 standard relate to incorporating the common ISO framework into health and safety management systems. However, by 2021 OHSAS 18001 will be officially retired.

If you are not familiar with an ISO standard framework, ISO standards focus on a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and ISO 45001 is no different. The PDCA cycle is a process used to achieve continual improvement. Organizations:

  • Plan by determining OH&S risks and establishing a process to correct these risks
  • Do by implementing the process as planned
  • Check for the desired results; and
  • Act by determining where further improvement is needed (which brings you back to the Plan stage).

By using the PDCA cycle, your organization will be able to achieve the OH&S goals of ISO 45001.

Standard Process Metal Gears

What are the goals of ISO 45001?

The goals of ISO 45001 is to help your organization achieve:

  1. continual improvement of OH&S performance;
  2.  fulfillment of legal requirements and other requirements;
  3. achievement of OH&S objectives.

The ISO standard includes several key clauses and appendices that specify how you can meet these goals.

Two safety managers examining heavy machinery

Key Components of ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Standard

Leadership and Worker Participation

Clause 5 of ISO 45001 focuses on engaging leaders and workers in your OH&S management system.  This component of the standard focuses specifically on involving non-managerial workers and decreasing their barriers to participation in safety and health activities.

The standard emphasizes involving workers in assessing hazards and risk activities, corrective actions and follow-up, training and training evaluation, internal audits, and incident investigation. Many safety management software systems may have modules that address these areas, but you should look for safety management software that engages worker participation in these areas.

For example, the Vector EHS Management software has key user interface elements designed to engage employees.  The Vector EHS public web forms allow all employees and stakeholders to enter and report hazards, incidents, and inspections without logging into the system. Employees can report hazards anonymously (mitigating fear of worker reprisal when participating in safety activities is specifically called out in the ISO 45001 standard). Vector EHS also has an employee user level specifically designed for employee participation. This affordable user level allows employees to take training classes, conduct inspections and observations, follow up on corrective actions, and report incidents and hazards.


The planning component of ISO 45001 calls for organizations to address risk and opportunities;

  • by identifying these hazards and opportunities;
  • determining any legal requirements for OH&S and
  • planning how to address these hazards, opportunities, legal requirements, and emergency situations.

Safety management software can assist in identifying hazards by providing a system to track and manage hazards using a hazard risk matrix. Check out how to calculate risk using our risk assessment matrix.

The Vector EHS Management software has a hazard module designed specifically to track and identify hazards with a built-in and configurable risk matrix. In addition to the hazard module, multiple other modules such as incidents, job safety analysis, inspections, and behavior-based safety allow for the identification and tracking of hazard risk.

ISO 45001 calls for understanding the appropriate legal and compliance requirements facing your organization.  For international organizations, compliance and legal requirements can be challenging as many countries have similar yet different requirements for reporting a worker injury for example.

Safety software that includes regulatory compliance requirements built into the software can assist your organization in achieving this compliance. The Vector EHS Management software ensures that incident reporting and its standard inspection templates meet OSHA requirements and monitors OSHA carefully so that we can update the software if regulations change. In addition, the Vector EHS software’s configurable design allows for organizations to modify the software to meet additional compliance regulations from other regulatory agencies or countries.

Of course, your organization has to have a plan for action to identify and address hazards, opportunities, and legal requirements. Software can keep your organization honest by providing status updates of where you are in the planning process and providing email notifications and alerts when plans, hazards, and legal requirements remain unaddressed.


Group of young safety workers looking at safety software on a tablet

Clause 7 of the ISO 45001 standard calls for an organization to have the following:

  • Resources - for the establishment, implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of the OH&S management system.
  • Competence - Workers are competent in OH&S, including hazard identification
  • Awareness - Workers are aware of OH&S objectives, their contribution, relevant incidents, and hazards, and removing or protecting themselves from danger
  • Communication - OH&S should be communicated appropriately both internally and externally
  • Documentation - OH&S programs should be documented (including updates and controls).

Safety software can address the competence, awareness, communication, and documentation of an OH&S system. Many software systems offer the ability to train workers via video on demand or computer-based training on a wide range of safety training topics providing competence and awareness as required by the ISO 45001 standard. Of course, software that provides this training content also provides an easy-to-use and controlled way to document this training (and also to document instructor-led training). Lastly, software systems can easily communicate internally to users throughout your organization via automatic email alerts, scheduled reports, and more.

Vector EHS offers all of these features; safety training content, documentation and tracking of safety training activity (and other safety activity), alerts, and scheduled reports to workers throughout the organization of this activity. Vector EHS Management includes audit logs and user controls, so Vector EHS System Administrators can audit and control the users who access the OH&S documentation within the software.


Clause 8 focuses on operational planning and control by making sure the organization implements the processes necessary to address risk, opportunities, and legal compliance. As part of these processes, Clause 8 specifically calls out eliminating hazards and reducing risk, management of change, procurement, and emergency preparedness and response.

As we mentioned above, the Vector EHS Management software provides a tool for organizations to eliminate hazards and reduce risk. The Vector EHS software also includes multiple organizational hierarchies to allow for an organization to manage the safety performance of multiple contractors (called out during the procurement stage).

The Vector EHS software does not have any modules (yet) focused specifically on management of change and/or emergency preparedness and response. The software, however, provides tools within multiple modules including our home module that can help manage those areas. Desperate for more management of change or emergency preparedness and response components in Vector EHS? We would love to hear from you on what you think those modules would entail.

Performance Evaluation

IndustrySafe safety software occupational health & safety metricsClause 9 focuses on ensuring that your organization has a method for monitoring, measuring, and evaluating the performance of your OH&S system. As part of this performance evaluation process, ISO 45001 includes setting up a process for internal audits as well as management review.

Safety software systems can include ways to monitor, measure, and evaluate safety performance.  For example, the Vector EHS software includes a detailed dashboard of safety metrics that includes over 80 safety metrics that help our customers monitor, measure, and evaluate their performance. Vector EHS's dashboard allows for senior managers and executives to have key review and insight into the safety activities of the organization. Like all Vector EHS modules, you can configure this dashboard to measure the safety metrics important to your organization.

Overwhelmed by safety metrics?

In addition, the Vector EHS Management inspection software allows organizations to conduct internal audits of a wide range of activities including safety audits, and to track the organization's compliance with key OH&S criteria.


IndustrySafe Safety Software Incidents ManagementClause 10 of the ISO 45001 standard focuses on improvement, making sure your organization determines and implements action for improvement. The clause specifically focuses on investigating incidents, non-conformity, and corrective actions to drive improvements. The clause also includes an emphasis on continual improvement.

Most safety software applications including incident and corrective action modules to help you track incidents and actions throughout the organization. The Vector EHS software is no different as we include robust incident reporting and corrective action planning within our solution. Our incident module allows for detailed incident investigation and tracking of a multitude of incident types (to encompass non-conformity) and our corrective action module allows for the tracking of multiple types of actions items.

If you're looking for a tool to achieve ISO 45001 compliance, sign up for a free demo of Vector EHS Management today, or contact us to learn more about the Vector EHS software.

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