Difference Between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001

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Life is unpredictable. One minute you’re enjoying the ride on the Ferris wheel the next, you’re hurling your guts out. It could very well be motion sickness or the bad hot dog. But it goes to show that most times the plan doesn’t always work out. No matter how long you pore over the strategy, how many ever antacids and anti-emetics you ingest, the contents are going to find passage at a moment you least want them to. The only hope you can have is that no one bears witness to such an accident. Okay, ‘no one’ is an ask. In a public place, there are going to be spectators even in the darkest nooks and corners.

The idea remains true even when encountering other kinds of mishaps. Picture this, you have a brand-new box of the most intricate little shoe rack that promises space-saving like a genius. The picture looks clear and simple. What do you do? Whip out those bits and get to work. After spending hours, though, you can’t make the head or tail of the shoe rack. The doors are hinged wrong and you have run out of bolts. Despite the picture, you have failed. If only you had spent that time studying the instruction manual. Confidence in your skill can get you far but instructions are present for a reason. Accidents are bound to happen. The least you can do is minimize the extent of the damage. The easiest way to do that is by following a set of guidelines.

ISO 14001 vs. ISO 45001

The way any body of work can be salvaged is by ensuring the appropriate guidelines are followed to the t. For this purpose, some standards and regulations are formulated by international experts. The ISO is an international body that provides the standards that guide a multitude of people – manufacturers, sellers, buyers, trade associations etc. in all their endeavours. They provide quality management standards, energy management standards and environmental management standards among others. These standards help in sustainable development and are widely used internationally. ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 are two such standards. They are both Management System Standards (MSS) and follow a High-Level Structure (HLS), but ISO 14001 is an international standard in the Environmental Management System (EMS), while ISO 45001 is an international standard in the Occupational Health & Safety Management (OHMS). Let us see how they are further different from each other.

Differences Between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 in a Tabular Form

Origin ISO 14001 was created in 1996. ISO 45001 was created in March 2018.
Implementation of ISO 14001 is an implementation of the Environmental Management System (EMS). ISO 45001 is an implementation of the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management Systems.
Purpose ISO 14001 is concerned with improvement of the environmental performance of an organization. ISO 45001 is concerned with the occupational health and safety of the members of the organization.
Focus ISO 14001 focuses on the organization’s impact on the external environment. ISO 45001 focuses on the organization’s internal environment.
Based on ISO 14001 is based on BS 7750. ISO 45001 is based on OHSAS 18001.
Created by ISO 14001 was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).   Kristian Glaesel put forth ISO 45001.
Commitment ISO 14001 shows commitment to the environment. ISO 45001 shows commitment to the employees.
Covers ISO 14001 covers the external environment. ISO 45001 covers the health and safety regulations of the workforce.
Clause 5 Clause 5 about leadership in ISO 14001 gives the directions of what is required of the top management to comply with the EMS. Clause 5 about leadership in ISO 45001 puts the workforce and the top management on equal footing.

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is an international standard of the Environmental Management System (EMS). It specifies the environmental requirements of an organization. It is a standard employed by companies that want to foster a positive environmental impact. The 2015 standard is the latest in the 14001 series.

It was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1996. Since then there has been a continuous reform according to the changes in the environment of our planet. Before the ISO 14001, the British Standards had put forth the BS 7750 that addressed the need to inculcate the consideration of the environment in the organizations’ operations. It gave the foundation for the ISO 14001 series.

The initial 14001s saw to the basic elementary needs of the environment like minimizing pollution and managing the negative impacts of the environment. With time, though, the regulations saw improvement and compliance with the regulations were emphasized. Additionally, organizations saw their role as ‘agents of change’ in the supply chain and thus, further improvements to safeguard the environment were seen.

The most important requirement of the ISO 14001 is perhaps compliance with the regulations. Organizations need to comply with the standards and they can be audited for the same by an external audit body. They need to prove the following:

  • Ensure that they follow the laws that affect the product, design and operations of their business.
  • Ensure they maintain a proper record of the legislation.

ISO 14001 helps realize the objectives of the company and determine the environmental impact of its operations. It helps study the resources better. The benefits of ISO 14001 are that the public impression of the company will be improved as it will be considered greener. There is also an improvement in the organization’s decision making and greater customer satisfaction.

The latest iteration of ISO 14001, the ISO 14001:2015, applies to any company regardless of its size and objectives. It applies only to the environmental aspects of its activities and services that can influence the environment depending on the life-cycle perspective. It does not give any specific environmental performance criteria. ISO 14001:2015 can be used wholly or in parts that are suitable to the company. However, a company cannot claim to be using the ISO 14001;2015 unless and until they fulfil all the requirements of the Environmental Management System without exclusion.

The 14001 family of standards accentuates environmental management but it belongs to the 14000 series, which also other environmental concerns like greenhouse gas management for more environment-friendly designs and products, life-cycle analysis, and criteria for a common language in the assessment of the environment worldwide etc. Along with ISO 14001, the 14001 regulations help make the planet greener and provide incredible insight into better practices that can be enforced for the same goal.

What is ISO 45001?

ISO 45001 is the international standard of the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management Systems. It is a relatively new standard of occupational health and safety. It was put forth by Kristian Gleasel in 2018. It was eagerly awaited by the world and now promises safety to the workers.

ISO 45001 is considered a milestone in the workforce. It is an international standard frame of reference for clear and concise rules that offer to improve the companies’ occupational health and safety. It aims at the topmost management of the company and offers a safe and healthy workplace for all the employees. To ensure that an employee does not face any adverse effects like illness or in the worst-case scenarios – death; ISO 45001 covers aspects that limit the pressures on the mental and physical health of the employee.

Before ISO 45001, was OHSAS 18001 for occupational health and safety of the workforce. ISO 45001 is not an update but a new and distinct standard. It aligns itself with the standards of the ISO Management System Standards (MSS) and follows the ISO High-Level Structure (HLS). It is also more comprehensive, for example, it takes into account the labour of maintaining physical records and recommends the digitization of records. It is also more proactive and proposes to reduce risks.

The reason ISO 45001 was created was that there were too many occupation-related accidents, injuries and deaths. The weight of the death was horrible not only for the family of the deceased but also for the employers and the wider economy. It resulted in losses from early retirements and staff absence among other hassles. Creating ISO 45001 gave the world an international standard that they could adopt – an official standard that applies to all and across all borders.

The standard acknowledges that the nature of work is not devoid of hazards and thus, requires a standard for occupational health and safety since every organization must be responsible for the welfare and safety of the employees. This responsibility includes the protection of the employees’ mental and physical well-being. ISO 45001 can be implemented in the other sectors of the company as well, regardless of if they provide products or services.

Organizations receive a certification after they undergo an audit by an accredited certification body. This certification could be used to display to the stakeholders of the organization that the company’s occupational health and safety systems have undergone an independent review.

Differences Between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 in Points

Following are the main differences between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001:

  1. ISO 14001 is an implementation of the Environmental Management System (EMS), whereas the ISO 45001 is an implementation of the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management Systems.
  2. ISO 14001 was created much earlier than ISO 45001 in 1996. ISO 45001 is a more recent standard, created in 2018.
  3. ISO 14001 was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), while ISO 45001 was a creation by Kristian Glaesel.
  4. ISO 14001 was based on BS 7550, which was a British Standard while ISO 45001 was based on the OHSAS 18001, which was a standard of occupational health and safety.
  5. ISO 14001 was created to have a positive impact on the environment, while ISO 45001 was created to ensure the health and safety of the employees.
  6. ISO 14001 focuses on the external environment. Conversely, ISO 45001 focuses on the internal environment by managing the health and safety of the employees.
  7. ISO 14001, thus, shows commitment to the environment while ISO 45001 shows commitment to the employees.
  8. Clause 5 about leadership in ISO 14001 talks about the role of the top management in connection with the EMS, whereas clause 5 in ISO 45001 talks about putting the top management and the workforce on equal footing when it comes to their health and safety.


ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 are, thus, both standards of management (MSS) that adhere to the High-Level Structure (HLS) in the ISO. However, their objectives vary greatly. ISO 14001 is a standard that belongs to the Environmental Management System (EMS) and gives directives about how to ensure that the environmental legislation is followed. It commits to the external environment.

ISO 45001, on the other hand, was more recently created. It is a standard implemented by the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System. It is a commitment to the employees and ensures the health and safety of the employees in a workplace. Along with their health and safety, it takes care of their physical and mental well-being. Since both these standards are of the MSS and follow an HLS, they can be implemented together in a company. Despite the difference in the content of each of the standards, their integration could lessen the burden on the company. Therefore, standards such as this help minimize errors and improve efficiency on the whole. At an international level, they provide guidance that transcends borders much like the instruction manual that comes in various languages. Surely, you can find a language that makes sense to you the next time you try to put together a piece of furniture. There will be other events when you can show off that rebellious streak by ignoring the manual and doing as you wish. These guidelines are there for a reason – to guide us and make certain we achieve the goal with minimal effort. We must take advantage of them by adhering to them.


  1. https://www.iso.org/standards.html
  2. https://www.iso.org/standard/60857.html
  3. https://spedan.co.uk/blog/iso-14001-environment/a-brief-history-of-iso-14001-environmental-management
  4. https://www.iso.org/news/ref2271.html
  5. https://isoupdate.com/resources/introducing-iso-45001-affects/
  6. https://int.lead.bureauveritas.com/en/iso-45001-leadership-and-worker-participation-how-clause-5-changes-the-roles-of-managers-and-workers
  7. https://www.imsm.com/gb/news/what-is-the-difference-between-iso-14001-and-iso-45001/
  8. https://www.apomatix.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-iso-14001-and-iso-45001/


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"Difference Between ISO 14001 and ISO 45001." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 16 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-iso-14001-and-iso-45001-248>.

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