How ISO 45001:2008 changes the health and safety culture in construction

How ISO 45001:2008 changes the health and safety culture in construction


Between 2014 and 2017 over 2.3 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and work place injury with an estimated cost to society of £1 billion per year (HSE Health and safety statistics for the construction sector in Great Britain, 2017).  Accounting for around 7% of the UK workforce, the construction industry is responsible for over 25% of fatal injuries in the workplace. 

With one in three fatal slips, trips or falls involving a construction worker, the industry is currently three times more dangerous than the national average for other industries. 

What is ISO 45001?

The recently published ISO 45001 is the world’s first international standard addressing occupational health and safety (OH&S). Designed to support organizations, reduce risk and promote occupational health and safety, ISO 45001 has the ultimate aim of helping organizations provide safe and healthy workplaces for their workers and other people associated with the working environment. 

ISO 45001 in construction

ISO 45001 is well suited to the construction industry, supporting many aspects of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) which place an emphasis on OH&S responsibilities. 

Aligning with international quality and environmental management standards (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001) ISO 45001 places responsibility for occupational health and safety on those at the top, and embeds occupational health and safety across the entire organization. More importantly it makes organizations consider how their OH&S system affects, and is affected by, not only employees but sub-contractors, outsourced operations and other stakeholders. Workers of all types must be involved in OH&S decisions that affect them and their input forms a fundamental part of hazard identification and management of OH&S risks and opportunities. 

ISO 45001 also takes into account the ‘world’ you are operating in and the internal and external factors affecting it. Known as ‘context’, organizations need to look beyond their own industry and identify what society at large expects from them. 

The new standard means health and safety becomes an integral part of the management process creating a culture of integrity, consistency and continual improvement in which health and safety is a core aspect of the workplace. 

Why implement ISO 45001?

Achieving ISO 45001 accreditation demonstrates you are committed to the health and safety of your employees and other stakeholders that work with you and gives confirmation to your clients and potential customers that they are dealing with a responsible supplier. By enhancing OH&S performance, the construction sector can improve business performance and critically, reduce work related injuries, ill health and death.

How Smithers can help

We recognise that every business has different requirements and our systems are designed to be easy to implement and sustainable in the long-term. They are formed to be adopted and integrated so you can recognise the improvements to your business …not just a set of procedures and processes that you and your employees find a burden and hard to manage. 

Our ISO 45001 accreditation support will help you to reduce the burden of occupational injuries and diseases and improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better and safer working conditions. 

For more information about how our experts can provide support, please contact us.

Find out more about auditing and certification to ISO 45001.

Download our ISO45001 presentation below:

Smithers-ISO45001-Presentation