After the latest summit, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has said the finished ISO 45001 standard on occupational health and safety will be due for publication at the end of March 2018.

National Standards Bodies (NSBs) had raised various concerns about the second draft standard (DIS2), which were to be dealt with at a week-long meeting in Malacca, Malaysia from the 18 to 23 September. The concerns were raised earlier this summer when the NSBs voted on approving the second draft, by the likes of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organisation of Employers along with 45 NSBs and 7 non-voting external organisations. Since the original text over 3000 comments had been submitted by the NBSs, focusing on changes to definitions of key concepts such as “hazard”, “participation” and “worker”.

Project Committee 283 (PC283) oversees the development of the substitution for British Standard OSHAS 1800. A part thereof, the working group, attended the meeting in Malacca and are responsible for submitting the reviewed text to the wider project committee so as they can decide whether to continue straight to publication or vote on a final draft international standard (FDIS) instead. Their final decision would require approval by the ISO’s central secretariat.

It is understood that a further consultation is warranted, since the text of DIS2 has been changed to such an extent that PC283 found a FDIS to be necessary. Therefore, a third vote by the NSBs will take place, although this time no comments will be submitted.

During the last international ballot, DIS2 received an 88% approval rate, when discounting the six abstentions. Only 11% voted against DIS2 including such counties as Spain, Germany and France.

To proceed to publication a draft standard needs to attain a two-thirds approval rate by participating NSBs, with 25% or less voting against.

The consultation closed on 10 October. Meanwhile a draft guidance is being consulted on by the British Standards Institute (BSI), who are inviting comments on how the guidance could be improved.