Management of Change – ISO 45001

Management of change is a systematic way to handle changes within an organization to effectively deal with the change and to capitalize on possible opportunities. It involves adapting to the change, controlling the change, and effecting new change.

ISO 45001:2018

Management of change is addressed in multiple requirements of ISO 45001, including:

  • maintaining the OH&S management system (see 4.4),
  • actions to address risks and opportunities (see 6.1.1, 6.1.2.1, 6.1.2.3, 6.1.4),
  • internal communication (see 7.4.2.a),
  • management of change (see 8.1.3),
  • internal audit program (see 9.2.2),
  • management review (see 9.3), and
  • corrective actions (see 10.2.e).

These clauses on changes to the OH&S management system are described below:

4.4 OH&S management system

The organization must establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an OH&S management system. Management of change is necessary to adequately maintain the OH&S management system.

6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities

6.1.1 General

The organization, in its planning process(es), must determine and assess the risks and opportunities that are relevant to the intended outcomes of the OH&S management system associated with changes in the organization, its processes, or the OH&S management system.

In the case of planned changes, permanent or temporary, this assessment must be undertaken before the change is implemented (see 8.1.3).

6.1.2.1 Hazard identification

The processes must take into account, but not be limited to:

g) actual or proposed changes in organization, operations, processes, activities, and the OH&S management system (see 8.1.3).

6.1.2.3 Assessment of OH&S opportunities and other opportunities for the OH&S management system

The organization must establish, implement, and maintain processes to assess:

a) OH&S opportunities to enhance OH&S performance, while taking into account planned changes to the organization, its policies, its processes, or its activities.

A.6.1.4 Planning action

Actions to address risks and opportunities should also be considered under the management of change (see 8.1.3) to ensure there are no resulting unintended consequences.

7.4.2 Internal communication

The organization must:

a) internally communicate information relevant to the OH&S management system among the various levels and functions of the organization, including changes to the OH&S management system, as appropriate.

8.1.3 Management of change

The organization must establish processes for the implementation and control of planned temporary and permanent changes that impact OH&S performance, including:

a) new products, services, and processes, or changes to existing products, services, and processes, including:

  • workplace locations and surroundings;
  • work organization;
  • working conditions;
  • equipment;
  • work force;

b) changes to legal requirements and other requirements;
c) changes in knowledge or information about hazards and OH&S risks;
d) developments in knowledge and technology.

The organization must review the consequences of unintended changes, taking action to mitigate any adverse effects, as necessary.

NOTE: Changes can result in risks and opportunities.

The objective of a management of change process is to enhance occupational health and safety at work, by minimizing the introduction of new hazards and OH&S risks into the work environment as changes occur.

In addition to the examples in 8.1.3.a, annex A.8.1.3 identifies changes related to:

  • technology
  • equipment
  • facilities
  • work practices
  • procedures
  • design specifications
  • raw materials
  • staffing
  • standards
  • regulations

Depending on the nature of an expected change, the organization can use an appropriate methodology, e.g., design review, for assessing the OH&S risks and opportunities of the change.

The need to manage change can be an outcome of planning (see 6.1.4).

9.3 Management review

The management review must include consideration of:

b) changes in external and internal issues that are relevant to the OH&S management system, including:

1) the needs and expectations of interested parties;
2) legal requirements and other requirements;
3) risks and opportunities;

The outputs of the management review must include decisions related to any need for changes to the OH&S management system.

10.2 Incident, nonconformity, and corrective action

When an incident or a nonconformity occurs, the organization must:

d) determine and implement any action needed, including corrective action, in accordance with the hierarchy of controls (see 8.1.2) and the management of change (see 8.1.3);

g) make changes to the OH&S management system, if necessary.