How to Write an ISO 45001 Risk and Opportunity Register

Although it’s not a formal requirement of ISO 45001, a risk and opportunity register is a useful tool for organisations looking to bolster the health and safety of their workplace.

The Standard describes best practices for occupational health and safety, and is designed to reduce injuries and diseases. This includes on-site accidents, long-term physical conditions and mental health issues.

An ISO 45001 risk and opportunity register can help achieve those goals, as it provides organisations with a list of risks and opportunities across the business. This can in turn be used to help manage those risks and utilise opportunities.

How do risk and opportunity registers work?

Risk and opportunity registers are a tool that helps organisations assess health and safety risk in context with the overall context of their business.

Registers can be developed in tiers:

  1. Strategic level: This refers to the intersection of risk with other factors, including local, economic, social, political, and regulatory concerns.
  2. Operational level: This refers to the relationship between risks and the organisation’s structure and culture.
  3. Process level: This refers to the relationship of risk to the organisation’s day-to-day operations. It can include human error, environmental issues, process quality, internal controls and compliance errors.

Because there is no formal requirement to complete a risk and opportunity register, there is no set way to document this information. It can be, for example, a simple document or spreadsheet outlining risks and where they are found.

Alternatively, organisations can expand the risk register to include other relevant information. This might include a description of the risk, the type of risk, the likelihood or it occurring and the impact it might have.

Additionally, organisations might include a risk treatment plan, providing ways to avoid, transfer or reduce the risk.

Furthermore, the risk and opportunity register might assign a risk owner based on the type of risk and where it’s located.

How to identify occupational health and safety risks

Organisations are sometimes tempted to start the risk identification process with a template list. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, as it can help you get an idea of the sorts of risks that your organisation might face, but it must be accompanied by a practical assessment of your own processes.

The reason for this is that you must ensure that risks are relevant to the context of your organisation. There might be risks in that template that don’t apply to you, so these must be identified and removed.

Likewise, there might be risks that are specific to your industry, location or set-up that must be included.

What does a practical assessment look like? Again, there are no set rules for what you should do, but a good place to start is by reviewing documented processes and procedures.

You should also conduct on-site assessments as you observe day-to-day processes looking for risks and opportunities.

Additionally, you should consider interviewing employees to learn more about the challenges of their role and health and safety concerns they might have.

ISO 45001 compliance with IT Governance

Get help with your OH&S system with our ISO 45001 Toolkit. Designed and developed by industry experts, this toolkit contains everything you need to certify to the Standard.

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It contains customisable templates for the documentation process, and access to our guidance notes to ensure you understand your requirements.