5.1 Leadership and Commitment [ISO 45001]

ISO 45001 Leadership and Commitment Requirements

Top Management are required to demonstrate leadership and emphasize the importance of effective safety and conforming to the OH&S requirements.

Additionally, leadership must also ensure that the OH&S Management System is achieving its intended results, and that continual improvement is driven within the organization.


Implementation takes time, money and other resources. Make sure you have Top Management’s commitment before continuing the implementation of ISO 45001.

Be sure that Top Management are solidly behind implementation of the OH&S Management System because without that commitment, the implementation process becomes almost impossible.

safety promotion presentation

Effective Safety Promotion

Safety promotion encourages a positive safety culture and helps achieve your organization’s safety objectives, through the combination of technical competence that is continually enhanced through training and education, effective communications and information-sharing. Senior management provides the leadership to promote the safety culture throughout the business.

Effective safety management cannot be achieved solely by mandate or strict adherence to policies and procedures.

Safety promotion affects both individual and organizational behaviour, and supplements the organization’s policies, procedures and processes, providing a value system that supports safety efforts.

Top Management - Inital Commitment to ISO 45001

Top Management should demonstrate their initial commitment to the implementation of the project by the ensuring that:

  1. The implementation mandate is communicated and understood
  2. Appropriate resources are made available
  3. An appropriate budget is made available

Understand why your organization is implementing a health and safety management system. Is it because a client or the market requires you to register? Is it for internal benefits? Is the motivation coming from Top Management? Whatever the reasons for implementation, keep them visible during the implementation project as this helps to retain commitment and to maintain focus on the end goal.

It will no longer be appropriate to have one representative driving the OH&S on behalf of the rest of the organisation. Top Management is accountable for the success of the implemtation of ISO 45001 and as such should lead, promote and direct others to ensure it drives health, safety and business benefits.

OH&S ISO 45001 vs OHSAS 18001

This is a significant change from the requirements of OHSAS 18001 where Top Management simply appointed a Safety Management Representative; signed the policies and attended management review meetings. Top Management can be one or more people but must have cross-functional influence in order to integrate the OHSMS with current business processes and to ensure OHSMS compatibility with your organization’s strategic direction.

Engagement of Top Management

Is Top Management engaged and leading OH&S issues, rather than delegating to someone further down your organisation?

Are workers being involved directly to protect, improve performance, and support the OH&S management system?

Examples of Top Management Commitment & Engagement to Safety

  • Ensuring that the health and safety policy and objectives are established and are compatible with the strategic direction of the organisation
  • Integrating the OH&S management system requirements into the organisation’s business processes
  • Providing the necessary resources for the OH&S Management System
  • Communicating the importance of effective OH&S
  • Directing and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of ISO 45001 and the OH&S management system
  • Assisting other relevant management roles to demonstrate their leadership as it applies to their areas of responsibility

Engagement can be further enhanced by reviewing the safety achievements of your organization. These are often greater and broader than expected because the initiatives are categorised under economic rather than safety improvement. This realisation builds commitment to do more. By developing engagement, the senior team are more likely to contribute to the other changes such as the context review and stakeholder analysis.

Auditors Will Look For Evidence of Top Management Commitment

During certification audits, Auditors should look for evidence that Top Management has a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management of the OH&S.

management commitment

Evidence of Top Management Commitment

Top Management involvement may be found in:

  • Safety documents, policies, business plans, objectives, including deployment and progress reporting
  • Involvement in health and safety objective setting, performance evaluation and follow-up
  • Clearly defined and understood health and safety responsibilities and authorities
  • Broad and active involvement in management reviews and other management forums where OH&S is on the agenda

Related Information You Might Find Useful

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Updated: 23rd February 2022
Author: Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
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