What is the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001?

What is the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001?

What is the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001?

Differentiating between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 is a common topic of inquiry. While there are some overlaps between these standards, they address very diverse ecosystems.


ISO 14001: What Is It?

ISO 14001 is the international standard for Environmental Management Systems, which has been discussed in greater depth elsewhere on this site.


It outlines the rules and regulations that must be put into place in order to improve your organization’s ecological footprint.


If you want to reduce your organization’s negative effects on the environment, the ISO 14001 standard can help you do so. A formal Environmental Management System is put in place to achieve this (EMS).

Improved public profile (green credentials), better corporate decision making, and happier customers are just a few of ISO 14001’s many advantages.


ISO 45001: What Is It?

Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems are required to comply with ISO 45001. As of its most recent revision in 2018, it specifies what must be done by businesses to establish an OH&S management system. It also includes instructions for applying them in real life.


With the release of ISO 45001:2018, occupational health and safety management systems now must adhere to this standard rather than OHSAS 18001.

The revised standard does a number of things, including bringing the industry up to speed with the rest of the ISO Management System Standards (MSS). ISO’s High-Level Structure is used as a guideline for this process (HLS). Read on for a further explanation.


An Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system helps businesses ensure their facilities are safe and healthy for people to work in. This is accomplished by the installation of safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and injury on the job.


The very nature of employment requires some sort of occupational health and safety management system, as acknowledged by the standard itself.

After all, “responsibility for the health and safety of workers and others who may be harmed by its actions” is a requirement for any business. It is part of this “obligation” to ensure the well-being of the people in question.


ISO 45001. Like ISO 14001, it can be used by businesses of any size to manage their health and safety at work. ISO 45001 is applicable to both product and service providers, making it useful to businesses across many industries.


As an added bonus, businesses can obtain ISO 45001 certification by going through an audit with a certification body that has been approved by the international standards organization.

An OH&S management system that has been certified can show its stakeholders that it has undergone a thorough external audit.


Where do ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 differ?

The content of these two norms is where they diverge most sharply from one another. Despite their similarities in form, the issues addressed in each are quite distinct.

Companies that are thinking about adopting ISO 14001 care mostly about their environmental performance (by reducing their impact on the environment). When an environmental management system is put in place, this goal is met (EMS).

ISO 45001, on the other hand, is concerned with health and safety in the workplace. Also, in enhancing these by introducing an OH&S management system.


Since this is the case, ISO 14001 includes regulations for locating and handling environmental factors. ISO 45001, in contrast, includes regulations dealing with issues including employee workload, working hours, and bullying that have a social dimension.


Clause 5 also shows some variation (Leadership). The “Consultation and participation of workers” clause (5.4) is specific to ISO 45001.

This is included because it is widely understood that the purpose of an organization’s OH&S policies and procedures is to safeguard the employees who work there.

If folks ‘on the front line’ aren’t consulted while policies and procedures are being developed, the resulting tools may not be enough.



In conclusion, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 diverge in some key respects. The variety of subjects they cover is largely responsible for this. The two fields of Environmental Management and Occupational Health and Safety require separate strategies because of their unique natures


On the other hand, they are both ISO MSS and have a similar framework (the HLS). This indicates that both can be used simultaneously (i.e. integrated) without a significant increase in administrative burden, despite the presence of subject-specific content in both.


A gap analysis is the first step in implementing either standard or understanding the current status of controls in your management system. It will shed light on what steps are necessary to meet the specified requirements of the standard in question. It will show you what has been implemented so far and what else has to be done.


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