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ISO OH&S evaluation receives resounding approval

ISO 45004-OH&S

ISO 45004-Ocupational Health and Safety Performance Evaluation received 98 per cent international approval rating. Article by: David W Solomon FISQEM, CMSS, MBA NSW Executive Officer Safety Housing Technical & Risk ,Convenor ISO TC283 WG4 OH&S Performance Evaluation. 

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On February 13, 2024, the international Technical Committee (ISO TC 283) responsible for the design and development of ISO 45004:2024 OH&S Performance Evaluation, reported that the FDIS ballot yielded 54/55 supporting votes, equating to a very strong 98 per cent international ballot approval. ISO advised this new Standard would be published  March 14, 2024.

ISO 45004:2024 is intended to help organisations to effectively monitor, measure, analyse and evaluate occupational health and safety (OH&S) performance. OH&S performance evaluation includes the processes that the organisation uses to assess the adequacy of activities that are expected to achieve intended results. OH&S performance is normally evaluated by using a combination of processes and sources of information such as incident investigations, inspections, audits, qualitative and quantitative indicators, culture surveys and interviews.


ISO TC 283 is also the international committee responsible for Occupational Health and Safety Management. ISO TC 283 held a meeting in Trinidad & Tobago in 2015 for the ongoing development of ISO 45001:20181 OH&S Management Systems. During that meeting the Head of the Swedish delegation started a conversation about Positive Performance Indicators. This was put on hold until ISO 45001 was published March 12, 2018.

MBA Leads Development of New International Standard

MBA NSW Executive Officer Safety Housing Technical & Risk, David Solomon (Australia’s International Head of Delegation) was nominated as the Co-Convenor of ISO TC283 Working Group 4 responsible for the development of ISO 45004:2024 by Standards Australia National OH&S Committee (SF-001). Being a Co-Convenor as opposed to a sole Convenor provides the opportunity to undertake two roles, a) to convene meetings and b) positively contribute towards the development of ISO 45004:2024 content, representing the views of Standards Australia SF-001. Canada was the other nominated Co-Convenor.

The National Committee

Standards Australia OH&S Management Committee SF-001 (Chaired by David Solomon) drafted its own National Standard that was considered for the working draft of ISO 45004:2024. SF-001 used the Hudson Maturity Model2 with the X and Y axis targeting requirements from ISO 45001:2018 when they drafted a National Standard. ISO TC 283 did not want Australia to have an unfair influence over the drafting of ISO 45004, hence only some elements from the National draft were included.

Governance and program

Working Group 4 is responsible for the development and drafting of ISO 45004:2024. This ISO project was scheduled to run 36 months, commencing October 2020. ISO TC 283  WG4 currently has 96 participants from all over the world. Once the Standard is published the Working Group 4 will disband.

Focus and detail

The aim of ISO 45004:2024 is to shift the focus from Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) to help businesses consider what daily tasks they are undertaking, how they are going to be measured and what units of measurement will be used to categorise them, so that the data obtained is more balanced and that it supports and reflects the OH&S performance of a building business. While LTIs are still relevant, they are a retrospective form of measurement and are still retained in the Standard. The National Standards Australia OH&S Committee SF-001 saw the need to broaden the scope of the existing LTI Standard 1885.1:1990 Workplace Injury and Disease Recording Standard to include all the positive things that a business does, that should be considered and if effective, relied on as a positive performance indicator. After all it is SF-001’s raison d’etre, to ensure the Standards that Australia is guided by are contemporary and fit for purpose. Notwithstanding, AS 1885.1 was subsequently withdrawn as it was dated and possibly had too narrow a focus. Given that a new international standard of OH&S measurement was in train that not only captured LTIs and afforded much more, the decision was also unanimous to support the development of ISO 45004 OH&S Performance Evaluation as a more suitable replacement.

45004 can be used by organisations of all types, regardless of whether they have implemented a formal OH&S management system (see ISO 45001:2018 and ISO 45002:2022). What ISO 45004:2024 provides is examples that demonstrate how to evaluate performance to drive continuous improvement and support the organisation in achieving its intended results. ISO 45004:2024 recommends a balanced approach, based on selection of performance evaluation processes and indicators, with emphasis on proactive (leading) OH&S performance indicators. It recognises that over-emphasis on past performance (lagging) indicators, such as incidence and frequency rates, can undermine efforts to improve OH&S performance.

As every organisation is unique, and intended results vary, there is not a standardised set of performance evaluation processes or set of indicators that fulfil the needs of all organisations. Therefore, every organisation has to identify performance evaluation processes and indicators to suit its own specific needs.

Effective performance evaluation can help the organisation to demonstrate continual improvement, and therefore may need to be adjusted when the organisation’s performance changes. Effectiveness is the result of selecting the appropriate performance evaluation processes and properly implementing them. When performance evaluation processes are used inappropriately (e.g. in a way that is perceived to blame individuals for system deficiencies), they can produce unintended consequences. The most common of these consequences are addressed in ISO 45004:2024.


If we use car insurance as an analogy, when applying for an insurance policy, one is asked  questions such as: is your car: parked off street? Garaged? Security system in place? Security system connected back to base? Those considerations, if implemented all positively contribute to discounts when insurance premiums are calculated, whereas the Building and Construction Industry (BCI) must comply with the WHS Act 2011 and WHS Regulation 2017 (specifically Chapter 6). Yet with all the governance that is complied with, none is considered when measuring a building company’s OH&S performance. Let alone are any positive OH&S performance actions into account to balance any non-conformances that a company may have incurred, categorised, measured or determined when assessing whether its OH&S performance is effective or not. 

ISO 45004:2024 is designed to complement ISO 45001:2018 by providing performance evaluation approaches that align with requirements  of that standard. ISO 45004:2024 OH&S Performance Evaluation can be used independently, by any organisation, to improve OH&S performance. 

N.B. ISO 45001:20181 OH&S Management Systems is the same document as AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Management Systems with the addition of an Australian Preface and Foreword to provide context for the Australian workplace environment.

 N.B. The Hudson Maturity Model2 plots the development of an organisation’s safety culture. Each level has distinct characteristics and is a progression from the previous level.


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