Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ISO Revisions Seek Overarching Guidance on 14001 Environmental Management Systems and Other ISO Standards

Revisions are being undertaken in ISO 14001 in order to create an overarching format in conformity with Annex SL (previously ISO Guide 83) which defines the framework for a generic management system. This new guidance is holistic and is intended to end conflicts, duplication, confusion and misunderstanding from different MSS management systems. Since being issued in 1996 and then revised in 2004, the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard has been adopted by more than 250,000 organizations around the world.

Annex SL, is described as a “high level structure and identical text for management system standards and common core management system terms and definitions.” Annex SL offers overarching guidance on ISO management system standards (MSS). It is intended to help explain how different standards fit together with minimum redundancy. Annex SL offers a common format, structure and core requirements for ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and ISO 50001.

ISO's goal in revising its standards is to conform to Annex SL so that standards share a common format. However this is no easy feat as consensus is required from all 130 participating countries. All new ISO MSS will adhere to this framework and all current MSS will migrate at their next revision. In future all ISO MSS should be consistent and compatible.

The ISO Technical Committee (TC) 207 has started the process of revising ISO 14001, with a target of issuing a Final Version in 2015.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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