Does your sustainable business strategy include an effective environmental and safety management system? In today’s increasingly global industries and operations, obtaining certifications for your management systems can add credibility, raise awareness and competency, strengthen leadership, enhance legal and other compliance, mitigate risk, and demonstrate your commitment to exceeding your customers’ expectations.
Although standards certifications are voluntary, certification is legally or contractually required for some industries to do business with certain customers. For example, many companies in the automotive and aerospace industries are required to maintain certification to various standards such as quality, environmental, and occupational health and safety.
What is ISO certification?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with a membership of 165 national standards bodies. The ISO maintains 795 technical committees and subcommittees across the globe. The ISO’s core mission is to “share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.”
How many standards exist?
To date, ISO has published almost 24,000 standards spanning a wide range of activities, products, and services. Here’s a glimpse of some of the more common standards, with a few amusing standards thrown in just for fun:
- ISO 9001 – Quality management
- ISO 14001 – Environmental management
- ISO 45001 – Occupational health and safety management systems
- ISO/IEC 27000 – Information technology — Security techniques — Information security management systems
- ISO 22000 – Food safety management
- ISO 50001 – Energy management
- ISO 13485 – Medical devices — Quality management systems
- ISO 26000 – Social responsibility
- ISO 3103 – Tea — Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests
- ISO 20126 – Dentistry — Manual toothbrushes — General requirements and test methods
- ISO 22774 – Footwear — Test methods for accessories: shoelaces — Abrasion resistance
What’s the process for certification?
The process of becoming certified can be lengthy, complex, and nuanced, but here’s our simplified summary of the most important steps:
- Develop a management system (documentation) in accordance with the standard.
- Implement the system:
- Identify aspects/risks/opportunities
- Establish objectives
- Follow procedures
- Perform inspections
- Conduct training
- Verify effectiveness through internal auditing, corrective action, and continual improvement.
- Register (achieve certification) your management system via successful audit by an independent, third-party registrar.
How long does certification take?
Starting a management system from scratch and taking it across the finish line of certification is a bit like running a marathon for the first time. Getting into marathon running shape takes about a year, as does developing an ISO system worthy of certification, and many variables can positively or negatively affect the timeframe and cost of achieving certification. The commitment of top management, type/amount of resources, and stability of the business can dramatically impact the development and maintenance of a management system.
How much does it cost to get certified?
Although costs can vary widely, developing a system can easily be in the four- to five-figure range. Third-party registrars typically charge fees to perform certification and surveillance audits on an annual or semi-annual basis. Single site vs. multi-site certification can also impact ongoing costs. Plus, there are other costs of time and resources necessary to maintain the system, for example, training, internal audits, compliance audits, personnel, and information technology.
How can EnSafe help?
For over 20 years, EnSafe has provided environmental and safety ISO support to a wide range of clients including private sector industries (automotive, aerospace, manufacturing) and public sector organizations (local, state, and federal government and regulatory agencies). We are well versed in ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems and offer a wide range of services including:
- Complete management system/program development (start-to-finish)
- Leadership training and overview
- Internal auditing
- Internal auditor training
- Compliance evaluations (external audits)
- Procedure creation/revision
Need help starting or getting across the finish line of ISO certification?