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Two ISO/IEC Standards Harmonize Standards for Audits and Certification

By Maria Lazarte, originally published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) has released two standards that will harmonize standards for certification bodies and auditors around the world, creating confidence among regulators, consumers, suppliers, and other stakeholders that certificates granted by one certification body are effectively the same as that offered by another. Audits and certifications are a major asset to international trade and essential to the long-term health of the world economy and these standards are designed to facilitate best practices for a wide variety of certification bodies and auditors.

ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 17065:2012, Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services, is designed to ensure that certification of a given product, service, or process has been carried out in a fair and capable manner, increasing confidence in the testing and inspection undergone by certified products, services, or processes. This standard revises ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996, General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems, which has been widely used by certification bodies to demonstrate that they are competent, impartial, and reliable; the new version includes improved terms, definitions, resources, and guidance, as well as new specifications. Certification bodies accredited under ISO/IEC Guide 65 have three years to come into compliance with the new standard.

ISO/IEC Technical Specification (TS) 17021-2:2012, Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems - Part 2: Competence requirements for auditing and certification of environmental management systems, is designed to ensure the competence of personnel involved in the growing field of environmental management systems (EMS) certification. The standard, which was developed to complement the generic guidance included in ISO/IEC 17021:2011, Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems, outlines required knowledge and skills for environmental management auditors and certifiers, including environmental terminology, relevant metric, and monitoring techniques. The new standard is the first in a planned series of technical specifications for different sorts of management systems.

"These enhancements to the CASCO toolbox provide the latest consensus from technical experts on methodologies that promote further trust and confidence in the marketplace," said Lane Hallenbeck, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) vice president for accreditation services, who currently serves as the committee's chairperson.

Created in 1970, CASCO works to determine effective ways to assess the conformity of products, processes, services, and management systems, and to prepare guides and International Standards that will promote mutual recognition and acceptance of national and regional conformity assessment systems, among other activities. CASCO's Secretariat is part of the ISO Central Secretariat.

ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC TS 17021-2 are both available from the ANSI eStandards Store.


Jana Zabinski

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