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ISO Standards Overview




ISO 9001 may be the most successful standard with over 1,000,000 Companies worldwide now registered, but there are hundreds of other Standards. They can be divided into Management System or Product/Service Standards.

Choose your ISO Standards
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Management Systems

The main groups of Standards relate to Quality, Environment, Health & Safety and Information Security.

Health and Safety is often grouped together with Quality and Environmental Systems into what is called a fully “integrated” system but there is no international Standard for Health and Safety because legal and regulatory requirements vary significantly between countries. However in the UK, British Standards have published BS OHSAS 18001.

Update to Standards

Based upon use and experience, ISO Standards are routinely revised and updated. For Management System ISO’s, this has been at the frequency of 5 to 8 years or so. Updates have generally been about changing the requirements (because of external developments), the emphasis and harmonisation.

For instance ISO 9001 has been updated in 1994, 2000 and 2008.

Scope of ISO

ISO has developed over 19,000 International Standards on a variety of subjects and 1,250 new ISO standards are published every year.

What makes ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 so important?

ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are ISO’s most well known and successful standards ever. They have been the first Standards which have been important in the operation of a business (rather than being technical and product orientated). ISO 9001 is the international benchmark for quality requirements in business to business dealings. The reason that it has superseded other attempts at improving Quality Management has been its applicability to both product and service organisations and the checking by external accredited Assessors. ISO 14001 provides similar advantages for organisations to meet their environmental responsibilities.

Traditionally ISO standards are technically orientated and relate to a particular product, material, or process.

Examples of the technical Standards include:

ISO 7001:2007 Graphical symbols — Public information symbols

ISO 8001:1984 Cinematography — Underexposed motion-picture film requiring forced development — Designation method

ISO 15001:2003 Anaesthetic and respiratory equipment — Compatibility with oxygen

ISO 16001:2008 Earth-moving machinery — Hazard detection systems and visual aids — Performance requirements and tests

However, the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and other ISO Management Standards like ISO 27001 for Information Security Management are different because they relate to how an organisation operates or manages itself. They are often called “Management Standards”. Their advantages are

  • Key features are specified
  • Applicable to almost any organisation.
  • Applicable from small to large multi-nationals
  • Applicable for service or product orientated organisation
  • Applicable for businesses, government agencies or charities
  • Externally assessed by independent Assessors

ISO 9001 relates to “quality management”. This is focused on understanding and meeting the Customer requirements and enhance Customer experience as well as continually improving its performance.

ISO 14001 relates to “environmental management”. This is focused minimising the harmful environmental effects of the organisation’s activities as well as continually improving its environmental performance.

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