The ISO Standards, They Are a Changin’



The premise that ‘the only constant in life is change’ applies to ISO Management System Standards as well.  Currently, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and ISO 9001 are in the process of revision; ISO 45001 is under development using OHSAS 18001 as a proof of concept; and the related American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Responsible Care Standards (RC 14001 and RCMS).  With the exception of Responsible Care, all of the ISO Standard revisions are still in draft form.  The Responsible Care Standards were recently revised in 2013, however, since they are based on ISO 14001, they will likely be revised again in the near future to incorporate the new ISO 14001 revision.

ISO 14001 – Risk, Life Cycle, and Value Chain

The essence of the draft changes to ISO 14001 is greater emphasis on leadership and risk mitigation regarding prevention of pollution, sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of the environment, biodiversity, and restoration of natural habitat.  To determine the implications of the proposed revisions, affected organizations will need to evaluate the organizational context.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes is in “Value Chain Planning and Control.”  This includes controlling or influencing the value chain, up and downstream, including outsourced processes; taking a life cycle perspective; specifying environmental requirements as appropriate for the procurement of goods and services or outsourced processes; and communicating requirements to suppliers, including contractors.

Consideration should also be given to the evaluation of significant environmental aspects as input in the process of the procurement, design, development or changes to products and services.  This consideration also must take into account information about potential significant environmental impacts during the use and end of life treatment of the product or during the delivery of the service.

The ISO 14001 standard is scheduled for release in early 2015.

ISO 9001 – Thinking Toward the Future

e revised ISO 9001 quality standard places an emphasis on risk-based management, increased emphasis on achieving value for the organization and its customers, and increased flexibility on the use of documentation.  The revision is also more applicable to “service” organizations.  As always, customers remain the primary focus, with fewer prescribed requirements. A quick overview of the proposed changes:

  • The requirement for a Quality Manual may be eliminated,
  • There is increased emphasis on organizational context, defined boundaries, and a consideration of exclusions.  
  • Risk-based thinking throughout the standard supersedes a single clause on preventive action, and the requirement for a management representative may be eliminated.  
  • Objectives must specify what will be accomplished, by whom, resource requirements, when they will be achieved and how the results will be evaluated.  Operational planning includes addressing risks with greater emphasis on processes to achieve requirements for goods or services and customer satisfaction, control of changes, and monitoring and measurement.  

Internal audits will require the consideration of related risks and management review must take into consideration the strategic direction of the organization.  The ISO 9001 standard is scheduled for release in September 2015.

ISO 50001 – Energizing the Future

ISO 50001 was originally released in 2011, however, changes are proposed to address additional refining of definitions, such as boundary, energy, energy efficiency, energy review. Also, there are proposals to add a special note in the topic of energy efficiency, to clarify calculation approaches.  The ISO 50001 standard is scheduled for release in 2016, but it may be 2017 before all issues are resolved.

OHSAS 18001 - Supporting the new ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety Management System

OHSAS 18001, the general consensus standard addressing OHS, is being used as proof of concept for the OHS management system (OHSMS), ISO 45001.  ISO 45001 in intended to bring together these concepts and requirements with the international consensus and format of the ISO Standards.  ISO 45001 will have the same format as the revised ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards. Details of the specific content are not well known outside the Technical Advisory Group, but it is expected to meet a need for an OHSMS international standard at local, national, regional and global levels – applying to both developing and developed countries.  With an international standard as a basis for the right infrastructure and training, organizations will be able to better manage risks in the future.  More and more companies also seek detailed information about their suppliers’ occupational health and safety practices in an effort to protect their brands.  This motivates suppliers to implement better and internationally recognized systems for established good health and safety practices and assist in the integration of multiple management systems.

The ISO 45001 standard is scheduled for release in October 2016.

RC 14001 – Verify, Verify, Verify

The ACC wants auditors to verify the Process Safety and Product Safety Code implementation during the normal course of audits.  It has added operational energy efficiency, waste minimization, and reuse and recycling when identifying an organizations’ aspects and impacts.  The Operational Control clause was also modified to require that an organization have a process to work with “third party providers,” which may include warehouses, terminals, agents, logistics providers, toll manufacturers (Tollers) and waste disposal contractors.  The Appendix 2 – RC Initiative Requirements focuses on key items, see discussion on RCMS below.  This revision was released in 2013, and further changes are anticipated for consistency with the revised ISO 14001 standard.

RCMS – Taking a Step Up

New changes to the text of the RCMS standard were made which address:

  • Operational energy efficiency and waste minimization, reuse and recycling
  • Verifying competency for persons performing tasks directly related to the organization’s prioritized Environmental, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) risks
  • A process to conduct internal audits related to the effectiveness of the system, occurring at planned intervals, with review of previous audits, and resulting changes to the management system
  • A process for working with “third party providers”, suppliers, and vendors
  • Reviewing the efficacy of corrective and preventive actions taken
  • Review of outputs from the management reviews, decisions and actions related to possible changes to the policy, goals, objectives and targets, and other elements of the RCMS.

This revision was released in 2013, and further changes may follow the upcoming revised ISO standards.

Standards Format & Integration of ISO Management Systems

Not only are the ISO standards in revision, but so is their format.  All will be consistent with the Annex SL (formerly called ISO Guide 83).  ISO developed the Annex in response to complaints from those that have implemented multiple standards only to find that each has a different structure and slightly different requirements.  When integrating management systems, it is a challenge to understand how the different standards fit together with minimum redundancy.  The new format should streamline the process for implementing a fully integrated management system.  The new format will have a common high level structure of 10 main clauses and common terms.  There is also a new emphasis on context of the organization, documented information, and risk management.

Next Step

With all the existing and proposed changes, it should be no surprise that the next five years will be a challenge.  While the basic processes are in place, management and implementation of these changes will require significant effort.  If you choose to integrate your existing management systems (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 / ISO 45001, ISO 50001, or RC14001 / RCMS), into a single integrated “Business Management System,” the new format changes will make it a significantly easier endeavor.  Typically, ISO offers a transition period to fully implement the standard revisions, during which your auditor is afforded flexibility to recognize the transition process.  Trinity has extensive experience in each of the standards discussed herein and is available to assist as you move forward.