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Safety Success Stories: Using ISO 45001 to Reduce Risks in Manufacturing

Apr 18, 2024
Closeup of an industrial workers on a computer in a factory

Occupational safety and health consensus standards provide a road map for organizations to reduce risks and continuously improve performance. Amy Timmerman, CSP, CHES, instructional assistant professor at Illinois State University, guided an aluminum manufacturer through the process of implementing the ISO 45001 safety and health management system standard.  

The Situation

An aluminum manufacturer wanted to improve its safety and health management system. It had received seven OSHA visits over a five-year period and there were no clear safety and health roles and responsibilities. It had inadequate processes for investigating incidents, capturing and analyzing data, and understanding hazards.

The Initiative

The manufacturer wanted to implement a standard that would enhance its safety management system and offer third-party certification. Being familiar with ISO standards after earning ISO 9001 certification, the manufacturer chose to implement ISO 45001 at its facilities.

Using ISO 45001, Timmerman guided the manufacturer through a gap analysis to examine the programs, processes and procedures currently in place and find areas for improvement. The gap analysis also identified new ways to integrate safety, health and quality management.

For example, the manufacturer incorporated safety and health into its quality management software system, allowing them to track the progress of incident investigations, compliance inspections and corrective actions. A cross-functional team identified incident management software that allowed them to better manage incidents and related costs. With this structure in place, safety and health became recognized considerations for the businesses — particularly as new equipment, technology and people were introduced.

The Outcome

The manufacturer saw a 50% reduction in injuries as a result of implementing 45001. The established controls also reduced the severity of injuries by addressing high-risk hazards.

In addition, the manufacturer saw substantial improvement in its incident management program. This program allowed the organization to conduct consistent incident investigations and identify root causes. Software system updates provided the opportunity to analyze data, find trends and be more proactive about safety management.

Organizational leadership now has greater visibility into safety performance and the leading and lagging indicators used to measure success. Every six months, there is a management review of the high-level action items and corrective actions identified through inspections and audits.


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