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How to use PDCA cycle in occupational health and safety standard ISO 45001:2018.

pdca cycle safety example

PDCA-Plan Do Check Act cycle in occupational health and safety management system standard.

All management systems use the PDCA cycle methodology in their approach. It is a model that connotes the PLAN DO CHECK ACT. The PDCA Cycle is also known as the Deming cycle.

It is a four-step model for problem-solving and continuous improvement in a management system. 

The Current and well-known Occupational health and safety management system standard OHSMS ISO 45001:2018 also follows a simple part of PDCA methodology in its approach.

However, many organisations have management systems. All management systems do follow the PDCA cycle. 

PDCA method can be applied below in these management systems relating to health and safety. 

  • In-house standards, in other words, the company standards they are using for themselves. An example of this is the Procedure for lifting activities at work. And the Procedure for working at height activities.
  • Sector-specific frameworks for some activities. For example, The chemical industries association’s responsible care framework.


ISO 45001 has ten clauses and clauses that fit into the PDCA methodology. The Ten clauses are

  1. Scope
  2. Normative Reference.
  3. Terms and definitions.
  4. Context of an organisation.
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning.
  7. Support.
  8. Operation.
  9. Performance Evaluation.
  10. Continual improvement.

The Ten clauses are divided into the PDCA methodology as seen below

  • For PLAN – Clause 4, 5, 6,7, 8.
  • DO- Clause 5,6,7,8,9.
  • CHECK- Clause 9.
  • ACT- Clause 10.

The PDCA cycle starts with the planning process. And this planning stage is used to control risk through a risk assessment. The Plans for risk assessment arrangements are in this stage. 


This stage will need you to review where you are at the moment and where you want to be. Also, establish policy and the below items.

  • What you want to achieve and the people responsible for each one.
  •  Make notes on how to achieve your aims. And on how to measure your success at the end of the cycle.
  • Establish how to measure performance through leading and lagging indicators. 


In this section, be concerned about how to identify your risk profile. In this case, you assess your risks. Identify what could cause harm in the workplace. Those things are called hazards. While doing that, you put a name or persons around the hazards while at work. Those people could be visitors, workers, contractors, and pregnant women. 

You list the situations that will make the hazards cause harm. You are doing more risk assessments in the DO section of the PDCA cycle. 

After this part of the risk assessment, you conduct the activities to deliver the risk assessment to the workers by involving them, communicating with them, providing adequate resources and offering competent advice. 

After this, you implement the plan by providing preventive measures. 

Provide the right equipment and tools for work, training and instruction to everyone carrying out the task. However, you supervise and make sure all are following the procedures.


This part is concerned with measuring the performance of your arrangements and knowing how far it has fared; It could be positive or negative or poor or good. 

Accident and incident investigations come under this section. Investigating the causes of accidents, incidents and near misses has to be done with documentation for reference.


Reviewing your management system performance comes under this section. The review could be annually or otherwise, mostly on what your management wants. 

During the review, you look at the accidents and incidents data, ill-health data, near-miss data, errors, and relevant experiences in the industry. This review will help you learn from the reports and offer you room for updating the management system.

The documents you can equally look at for your review include plans, policies, risk assessments, and audit and inspection reports.

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