June 2019

China ISO 45001 Certificate - An Introduction

Have you received a China ISO 45001 certificate and wondered what it is, if it is real and how to check it?

Replacing the previous standard OHSAS 18001 in 2018, this new international standard specifies the requirements for occupational health and safety.

The uptake of certification to this standard in China has been quick and many Chinese organizations are providing their clients with copies of their China ISO 45001 certificate. Learn more about it here.

What is a China ISO 45001 Certificate?

ISO 45001 certificates in China are issued to organizations by certification bodies to certify that their occupational health and safety management system meets the requirements of the standard.

The certificate varies in appearance depending on which certification body it was issued by, but note that certification bodies usually provide certified organizations with both a Chinese and English language version.

Below is an example of a China ISO 45001 certificate issued by the certification body CQC:

What Information is Contained in a China ISO 45001 Certificate?

From viewing a China ISO 45001 certificate it is possible to ascertain some detailed information about the certified organization, and significantly, the certification body that issued the certificate.

Determining whether or not the certificate is valid, relevant and issued by a certification body with a good reputation is critical to understanding the worth of the document.

The following information, at a minimum, about the certified organization should be included on a China ISO 45001 certificate:

  • Certificate number
  • Name of the organization
  • Site addresses covered by the certification
  • Standard number (ISO 45001) and revision year (2018)
  • Scope of certification
  • Issue date and expiry date

It should also be possible to ascertain the following information about the certification body:

  • Certification body name
  • Their logo
  • Accreditation logos
  • Accreditation numbers

Who Issues a China ISO 45001 Certificate?

China National Accreditation Service Mark

The majority of China ISO 45001 certificates are issued by certification bodies which are accredited by CNAS (China National Accreditation Service), China’s member of the IAF (International Accreditation Forum).

The certification bodies accredited by CNAS include many domestic certification companies as well as a large number of familiar international names (BSI, TUV, BV, SAI etc.) which have operations in the country.

A China ISO 45001 certificate is issued after the company has been audited and found to meet requirements of the standard.

Unless you have resources to audit the facility yourself, it is important to make an evaluation about the reputation of the certification body in order to determine the value of the ISO 45001 certificate issued.

For extra reassurance it is worth figuring out whether or not the certification body also has overseas accreditation.

Who Uses the China ISO 45001 Certificate?

Chinese companies that have a strong awareness of the importance of a safe and healthy working environment will often choose to certify their Occupational Health and Safety Management System to ISO 45001.

Before the publication of ISO 45001 certification, a large number of Chinese companies already held OHSAS 18001 certification, which is in the process of being replaced by the new ISO 45001 certification.

Many multinational corporations require their suppliers in China and elsewhere to hold ISO 45001 certification, so that can also be a factor in why some Chinese companies hold this certificate.

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My China Supplier only has OHSAS 18001 Certification - is this a Problem?

The ISO 45001 standard was only published by ISO in March 2018, and the process to update documentation to comply with this new standard, carry out audits and issue new certificates can take many years to implement.

At the time this article was prepared (June 2019) you shouldn't be concerned if a supplier has OHSAS 18001 certification. 

The below image, also issued by CQC, shows an OHSAS 18001 certificate. You can see that it has a similar format to the ISO 45001 Certificate, but specifies a different standard. 

Moving forward the key is to look at the issue and expiry dates of the OHSAS 18001 certificate.

The likelihood that this certificate is not genuine will increase over time as certification bodies stop issuing this certificate.

If you see an OHSAS 18001 certificate that was apparently issued long after the standard was replaced by ISO 45001 you should be particularly concerned. 

How to Verify a China ISO 45001 Certificate?

Unfortunately, like other certificates in China, there are many photo-shopped or fake ISO 45001 certificates used by companies looking to get an unfair advantage.

Providing fake documentation not only raises serious questions about a company’s trustworthiness, but also indicates an increased risk of fraud.

You can read our helpful guide on which Chinese ISO certificates you can trust, and attempt to verify a certificate yourself using some of the resources identified we have identified in this article.

Further reading