ISO 45001:2018 provides a nonprescriptive framework for occupational health and safety management systems, emphasizing concepts like top management and evaluation for continual improvement. The benchmarked assessment of an organization’s ISO 45001 occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, however, is conducted by a qualified auditor.
A new technical specification, ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 – Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems – Part 10: Competence requirements for auditing and certification of occupational health and safety management systems, defines the skills for bodies auditing organizations that have implemented the ISO 45001:2018 health and safety standard.
What is ISO 45001?
ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use was released in March 2018. It can help compliant organizations enhance employee safety, reduce workplace risks, and create better, safer working conditions by improving its occupational health and safety performance.
This standard was so monumental because, despite the presence of some other OH&S management systems standards in the past, no single document ever had the international input as 45001, nor the applicability with existing ISO management systems standards.
How Do International Standards Address Auditing?
ISO management systems standards, like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or ISO 45001, give the framework for their respective management systems, and some associated standards in the same series supplement their guidelines. By adhering to this guidance, users can enact successful quality management, environmental management, occupational health and safety management, and other management systems in their organizations. However, to sufficiently measure and assess the performance of an organization’s management system, auditors can certify organizations against the standards.
This beckons the question: to what principles do auditors adhere? If certification is a recognition of quality and the management system standards themselves serve as the recognized sources of systems, how can the auditors remain reliable? The answer, unsurprisingly, is more standards.
ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 – Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems – Part 1: Requirements contains the principles for the competence, consistency, and impartiality of third-party conformity assessment bodies providing audit and certification to all types of management systems. Additional documents in this series address guidelines unique to auditors offering particular types of management system certification.
However, compliance extends beyond the standards themselves. Certification bodies, under the guidance of the ISO/IEC 17021-1 standard, audit organizations’ management systems standards to assess their adherence to their respective guiding document. The credibility of the certification body is assured through accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021-1, which is provided by accreditation bodies like the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). You can learn more about Accreditation for ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems here.
What is ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018?
OH&S management system certification personnel should have competencies described in ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018. This document complements the guidelines found in ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, the competencies of which should also be followed for certification personnel. Specifically, ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 expands upon the guidelines for personnel involved in the certification process laid out in Annex A of ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015.
ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 was developed with input from many of those responsible for writing the ISO 45001:2018 standard, so it strongly benefits from their extensive knowledge. This truth is exhibited clearly throughout the ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 technical specification, which stresses the importance of the same OH&S concepts. However, it is from the perspective of an auditor, not an adopter of the system. The competencies and skills of OH&S management system auditors are laid out clearly in the technical specification, which addresses important terminology, principles, concepts, tools, and techniques.
ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 is available as part of the following standards packages:
ISO/IEC TS 17021-10:2018 – Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems – Part 10: Competence requirements for auditing and certification of occupational health and safety management systems is available on the ANSI Webstore.