New international standard for evaluating OHS performance

On February 13th, 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 Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) ballot yielded 54/55 supporting votes, equating to a very strong 98% international ballot approval.

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

The new standard was published last week.

{The is a guest post by David Solomon; details are below. Some grammar changes have been applied, and hyperlinks added by SafetyAtWorkBlog]


ISO TC 283 is also the international committee responsible for Occupational Health and Safety Management. ISO TC 283 held a meeting in 2015 in Trinidad Tobago for the ongoing development of ISO 45001:2018 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 on March 12th, 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) to positively contribute towards developing 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 their 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 elements from the National draft were included.

Governance and program:

Working Group 4 is responsible for developing and drafting ISO 45004:2024. This ISO project was scheduled to run for 36 months and commenced in October 2020. ISO TC 283 WG4 currently has 96 participants from all over the world. Once the Standard is published, 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 and 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 if building business OH&S performance is effective. 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 to narrow a focus. Given that a new international standard of OHS measurement was in train that not only captured LTIs but 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). ISO 45004:2024 provides examples demonstrating how to evaluate performance to drive continual improvement and support the organisation in achieving its intended results. ISO 45004:2024 recommends a balanced approach to selecting performance evaluation processes and indicators, emphasising proactive (leading) OH&S performance indicators. It recognises that over-emphasising 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 no standardised set of performance evaluation processes or indicators that fulfils the needs of all organisations. Therefore, every organisation must identify performance evaluation processes and indicators to suit its own specific needs.

Effective performance evaluation can help the organisation demonstrate continual improvement and, therefore, may need to be adjusted when performance changes. Effectiveness results from selecting and properly implementing the appropriate performance evaluation processes. 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 compare car insurance as an analogy when applying for an insurance policy, you would be asked the following questions: is your car parked off the 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 must comply with the WHS Act 2011 and WHS Regulation 2017 (specifically Chapter 6). Yet none of the governance that is complied with is considered when measuring a building company’s OHS performance. Let alone take ANY positive OHS performance actions into account to balance any non-conformances that a company may have incurred, categorised, measured or determined if its OHS performance is effective or not.

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

David W Solomon FISQEM, CMSS,
Executive Officer Safety Housing Technical & Risk
Convenor ISO TC283 WG4 OH&S Performance Evaluation

N.B. ISO 45001:2018 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 Model 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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