• Phil Potter

ISO 45001:2018 – Clause 6.1 Actions to Address Risks and Opportunities

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

This blog is a little bit larger than usual. It has not been split up because I believe this section of the standard should be read in its entirety to ensure you have a good grasp and knowledge of the requirements.

Grab a coffee, tea or water and enjoy.

Clause 6.1 - Actions to address Risks and Opportunities

I consider this requirement a key factor in the success of your OH&S/WHS system. If you get this right you should reduce the number of injuries and incidents.


Spend more time ensuring that all workers are involved in assessing hazards and risks. This includes communicating with them about the risks and hazards (especially younger and newer workers), as well as encouraging them to come up with opportunities, ideas and improvements that will reduce the hazards and risks.


Definitions for OH&S Hazards, Risks & Opportunists:

1. Hazard – a source with a potential to cause injury and ill-health

For example: driving, using an angle grinder and improperly erecting scaffold.


2. Risk – A combination of the likelihood of occurrence of a work-related hazardous event or exposure and the severity of injury or ill-health that can be caused by the event or exposure.

For example: A car collision resulting in injury or death, an angle grinder kicking resulting in severe cuts/grazes or lacerated artery that may lead to death, or a scaffold collapsing crushing people.


3. Opportunity – A circumstance or set of circumstances that can lead to improvement of OH&S performance.

For example: Engineering out certain requirements, substituting a process or activity that reduces hazards and risks (such as a warehouse where there is no interaction between workers on foot and forklift traffic).

This section is about how to meet the requirements of this section of the standard.

When planning for your OH&S Management System your organization must consider the context of your organisation, you’re interested parties and the scope of your OH&S management system. (Refer to my previous blogs).


You must determine the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed in order to;

  1. Give assurance that your OH&S management system can achieve its intended outcomes.

  2. Prevent, or reduce, undesired effects;

  3. Achieve continual improvement.


When determining the risks and opportunities for your OH&S management system and its intended outcomes that need to be addressed, the organization shall take into account:

  • Hazards (see 6.1.2.1)

  • OH&S risks and other risks (see 6.1.2.2)

  • OH&S opportunities and other opportunities (see 6.1.2.3)

  • Legal requirements and other requirements (see 6.1.3)


During the planning process, your organisation must determine and assess the risks and opportunities that are relevant to the intended outcomes of the OH&S management system associated with changes in the organization, its processes or the OH&S management system.


In the case of planned changes, permanent or temporary, this assessment must be undertaken before the change is implemented.


Your organization must maintain documented information on risks and opportunities, and the processes and actions needed to determine and address its risks and opportunities to the extent necessary to have confidence that they are carried out as planned.



6.1.2.1 Hazard identification

Your organization has to establish, implement and maintain processes for hazard identification that are ongoing and proactive. The processes must take into account, but not be limited to:

1. How work is organized

Social factors (workload, work hours, victimization, harassment and bullying), leadership and the culture in the organization;


2. Routine and non-routine activities and situations

  • Infrastructure, equipment, materials, substances and the physical conditions of the workplace

  • Product and service design, research, development, testing, production, assembly, construction, service delivery, maintenance and disposal

  • Human factors

  • How the work is performed

3. Past Relevant Incidents

  • Internal or external to the organisation

  • Can include emergencies and their clauses

4. Potential Emergency Situations


5. People including consideration of:

  • Those with access to the workplace and their activities, including workers, contractors, visitors and other persons

  • Those in the vicinity of the workplace who can be affected by the activities of the organization

  • Workers at a location not under the direct control of the organization

6. Other issues:

  • The design of work areas, processes, installations, machinery/equipment, operating procedures and work organization, including their adaptation to the needs and capabilities of the workers involved;

  • Situations occurring in the vicinity of the workplace caused by work-related activities under the control of the organization;

  • Situations not controlled by the organization and occurring in the vicinity of the workplace that can cause injury and ill health to persons in the workplace


7. Actual or proposed changes in organization, operations, processes, activities and the OH&S management system (see 8.1.3)


8. Changes in knowledge of, and information about, hazards.



6.1.2.2 Assessment of OH&S risks and other risks to the OH&S management system

Your organization has to establish, implement and maintain process to:


1. Assess OH&S risks from the identified hazards, while taking into account the effectiveness of existing controls


2. Determine and assess the other risks related to the establishment, implementation, operation and maintenance of the OH&S management system.


The organization’s methodologies and criteria for the assessment of OH&S risks shall be defined with respect to their scope, nature and timing to ensure they are proactive rather than reactive and are used in a systematic way. Documented information needs to be maintained and retained on the methodologies and criteria.



6.1.2.3 Assessment of OH&S opportunities and other opportunities for the OH&S management system

Your organization has to establish, implement and maintain processes to assess:


1. OH&S opportunities to enhance OH&S performance, while taking into account planned changes to the organization, its policies, its processes or its activities and:

  • Opportunities to adapt work, work organization and work environment to workers

  • Opportunities to eliminate hazards and reduce OH&S risks


2. Other opportunities for improving the OH&S management system.

NOTE: OH&S risks and OHS opportunities can result in other risks and other opportunities for your organization and these have to be taken into account.

Check out an example of a risk register provided as a free resource.

Any questions don’t hesitate to contact one of the team at PKP & Associates.