IAF Technical Committee Task Force OH&SMS for the Development of a new IAF-MD Based on the Mandatory Document EA-3/13 M
In the framework of the International Accreditation Forum/International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (IAF/ILAC) Mid-Term Meetings in Frankfurt, a Task Force (TF) for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS) was established with the aim of preparing a new IAF-MD from the mandatory document EA-3/13M:2016. EA-3/13M:2016 was prepared by the European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) with the aim to have a tool that helps the application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 for OH&SMS.
The new IAF-MD is intended to guarantee the same approach to OH&SMS certification schemes in the IAF community as in the EA community.
Since the mandate of the TF is to have the new document published within one year, it was decided to complete two rounds of comments (30 days within TF members plus a 60-day comment period within IAF Members) in order to have the document ready for Technical Committee approval for the next meeting on 22 October in Vancouver.
The recent worldwide increase of OH&SMS certifications saw different approaches to the accreditation of OH&SMS CBs by the national Accreditation Bodies (ABs):
• some ABs focused more on the market opportunities, applying the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021, not considering that the risk of an OH&SMS certification is much higher than any other MS certification
• a few other ABs considered the risk of OH&SMS certification to be much higher than any other MS certification, and applied requirements more stringent then ISO/IEC 17021
Different approaches could lead to unfair competition, with significant differences in audit times and costs for organizations, and might cause possible damages to the credibility of accreditation.
The benefits foreseen for the new documents are the same that guided the preparation of EA 3/13M:
• to promote a harmonized approach by Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) accredited for the OH&SMS certification, according to OHSAS 18001, including the upcoming ISO 45001
• to ensure an uniform application of the certification rules by national ABs
• to reaffirm the responsibility of the CAB for the decisions taken: any decision shall be based on the awareness of risks associated to the effects of the decision itself
It is intended that the new IAF MD will maintain the same structure of EA 3/13 M, with a:
• main section with additional requirements to the corresponding clauses of ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015, specific for OH&SMS, and some normative appendices
• Appendix A which adds to the generic competence requirements of Annex A of ISO/IEC 17021-1: 2015 three competence requirements specific for OH&SMS auditors. This Appendix will be superseded by the upcoming ISO/IEC TS 17021-10 when it comes into force
• Appendix B for determination of Audit Time which adds 14 specific requirements for OH&SMS to those of IAF MD5:2015, now applicable to Quality Management Systems/Environmental Management Systems (QMS/EMS) only
The methodology for calculation of OH&SMS audit time remains similar to those for QMS and EMS, but for OH&SMS it will be based only on three categories of complexity (high, medium and low) classified according to nature and severity of the OH&S risks of an organization, which significantly affect the audit time. The final result for OH&SMS will be an increase in audit time compared to that for EMS, with no need to change the table for calculation of the full audit time from the equivalent number of employees
• Appendix C which introduces additional requirements for maintaining the legal compliance based on those of document EA-7/04 M already applicable to the EMS scheme
• Appendix D which updates IAF ID1:2014 with examples of OH&S hazards for all IAF codes
• Appendix E which updates for OH&SMS the technical clusters of IAF MD 17 now applicable to QMS/EMS, in order to plan witness assessments.