ISO Standards

ISO Standards - the opportunities and benefits for integration of management systems

Introduction

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is aware that an essential requirement of management systems is their ability to be integrated with one another. A rapidly growing number of organisations are undertaking certification for multiple standards, particularly BS EN ISO 14001:2004 (ISO 14001), BS EN ISO 9001:2008 (ISO 9001) and BS OHSAS 18001:2007 (OHSAS 18001). Furthermore, they are attempting to do this in an integrated or semi integrated way to make the most of potential resource efficiencies. A useful starting point for this process is Annex A in ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 and Annex B in ISO 14001 which identifies the correspondence in one or more standards.

Some of the benefits of integrating multiple standards were highlighted as:

  • Avoidance of duplication of procedures
  • Reduced conflict of procedures
  • Reduced requirements on resources, including financial
  • Reduced nonconformities
  • Reduced number of audits
  • Reduced third party assessment days

PAS99:2012

In 2006 the British Standards Institution released PAS 99:2006, this has now been updated to PAS99:2012 (PAS99). At the time of release this was the first specification of requirements for an integrated management system. PAS 99 has been developed in accordance with Guide 72 (International Organization for Standardization, 2001), that defines the Guidelines for the justification and development of management system standards which includes section A.2.3, "Need for management system standards". This sub clause asks the proponent of a management system to define the characteristics of its needs and identify the issues which have to be controlled and/or improved in order to satisfy the relevant interested party(s). Therefore, for PAS 99 to have been published it must have been comprehensively agreed that a need for such integration existed. This decision can be taken as evidence of the perceived benefits of the integration of multiple standards

Research

Work undertaken by Paul Stevens contacted circa 900 ISO 14001 certified organisations asking about, among other topics, which standards they held certification for and, if applicable, the level to which the required policy and procedures for the separate standards were integrated. It was shown that circa 85% of respondents were certified to ISO 14001 and at least one other standard. Additionally, circa 40% of respondents held certification to ISO 14001 and at least two other standards. Of the other standards, certification held for ISO 9001 was the most common. This research shows that certification to multiple standards is common in an organisation holding certification for at least one standard.

Participants were asked whether they agreed with the statement:

"Our organisation integrates its policy and procedures for multiple standards"

It was shown that circa 70% agree or strongly agree with this statement. However, when the qualitative data, recorded in the same questionnaire was reviewed it was clear that considerable inconsistency exists in the actual levels of integration achieved. Through this research AVISO is better able to understand the potential opportunities for integration within in different organisations based on the components of multiple standards.

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By Paul Stevens

Posted on: 26/09/2013 By: Mr Paul Stevens   Categories: Environmental, Energy, Quality, Integration, Management system

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