On 28 August 2013, The International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) published an article entitled “ISO 9001:2015 and beyond – Preparing for the next 25 years of quality management standards

Also, recently a client of The ELC asked about “ISO 14001:2009”. This was confusing to The ELC since we understood that the latest version of ISO 14001 was ISO 14001:2004.

As a result our team did a bit of research, and then Peter Flynn (“PF”), Managing Director of The ELC, interviewed Lynn Schouw (“LS”), Senior Associate at The ELC, to make some sense of the confusion.

PF: Hi Lynn, nice to be back at work after a good holiday break?

LS: I had a very busy holiday with family, so I am glad to be back a work so I can relax! [laughs]

PF: Well, lets get right into it then. So what is the most recent version of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001?

LS: ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004.

PF: So why the confusion about ISO 14001:2009?

LS: Well, a standard was published in Germany in 2009 – “DIN EN ISO 14001:2009”. Like SABS [“South African Bureau of Standards” – ed.] adopts a standard as a SANS [“South African National Standard” – ed.] the Deutsches Institut für Normung, or German Institute for Standardization in English, adopts standards for use in Germany.

DIN EN ISO 14001:2009 is still ISO 14001:2004, but includes a “corrigendum” – see http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=54536 (see the preview) for detail.

This was a minor referencing amendment due to the revision of ISO 9001:2000 to ISO 9001:2008 in 2008. The corrigendum simply changes the references to ISO 9001:2000, contained within ISO 14001:2004, to instead reference to ISO 9001:2008.

From what we understand, nothing material has changed in the requirements of ISO 14001.

ISO 14001 certification is still in terms of ISO 14001:2004, and in South Africa, still in terms of SANS ISO 14001:2005.

The next revision of ISO 14001 looks set for 2015, along with ISO 9001, which will also be revised at the same time according to the August 28 2013 announcement by ISO.

PF: Ok, that is confusing, but it makes sense. So what do you make of the August 28, 2013 announcement by ISO?

LS: It will be interesting to see what changes are made especially in regard to the alignment with the OHSAS 18001 and other ISO standards, such as, ISO 14001 and ISO 500001.

We could possibly expect these ISO standards and the OHSAS 18001 standard to follow with updates of their own.  It is becoming more and more advisable for companies to streamline and align their management systems in order for them to achieve ongoing performance improvement.

This will also make it easier for companies to ensure that all their departments are functioning within the management systems’ requirements and reduce their findings of non-compliance during audits.

PF: What changes can we expect to see?

LS: The article does not give sufficient information as to what the changes might be.

PF: Have you considered a career in politics? Kidding. What changes would you like to see?

LS: From my experience I believe that much focus needs to be placed on the training and awareness, not only for the employees but for top and middle management, with emphasis on their roles, responsibilities and accountably.

The success of a management system implementation and ongoing performance depends on the involvement of top management.

Further to this, and based on the comment in the August 28 2013 article, that the ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 standards have formed the basis for the development of other management standards, the question of legal compliance in all areas of the business, and understanding what those areas are, should be a key factor in the review process.

What I mean by that is, that if a company is implementing the ISO 9001 or ISO 9004 standard only, they should be required to identify which legislation is applicable to them as an organisation based on their activities and processes.

This is currently a requirement of the OHSAS 18001 and other ISO standards which we have discussed, but not a requirement of ISO 9001:2008.

PF: Interesting point! Are there any other areas that you feel should be considered?

Another area of focus would be changing circumstances.

We live on a fast track and change is something we all have to embrace all the time.  How can our management system facilitate those changes in order to prevent the company’s activities from falling into a non-compliance situation, thereby compromising the customer, the employees, the shareholders and possibly even the community?

Again ongoing training and awareness in this area would be the number one requirement in order to implement effective change control and management.

PF: Thanks Lynn.

LS: Pleasure.