ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Transition Period Extended

Companies hoping to make the transition from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015 will now have until March 2019 to make the change.

Both ISO 9001, the quality management system standard and ISO 14001, the environmental management system standard were updated in September 2015. Companies certified to the previous versions, ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001: 2004 were given three years to make the transition. All existing certifications were previously due to expire by 15 September 2018.

A number of significant changes have been introduced by the 2015 versions of the standard, not least of which is the introduction of the Annex SL format and terminology. Annex SL was developed in order to ensure that all future ISO management system standards (including ISO 45001:2018) share a common format irrespective of the specific discipline to which they relate.

Annex SL prescribes a high-level structure, identical core text, and common terms and core definitions. The structure of each management system standard is modelled on the following principal clauses:

  • Clause 1 Scope
  • Clause 2 Normative references
  • Clause 3 Terms and definitions
  • Clause 4 Context of the organisation
  • Clause 5 Leadership
  • Clause 6 Planning
  • Clause 7 Support
  • Clause 8 Operation
  • Clause 9 Performance evaluation
  • Clause 10 Improvement

In the new disposition, the Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle is transposed as follows:

  • Clause 4: Context of the Organisation; clause 5: Leadership; clause 6: Planning; clause 7: Support (Plan)
  • Clause 8: Operation (Do)
  • Clause 9: Performance evaluation (Check)
  • Clause 10: Improvement (Act)

The main changes to the two standards relate to understanding an organisation’s context, determining the needs and expectations of interested parties and adopting a risk-based approach to the implementation of the standards.

Data published by the International Standards Organization (ISO) at the end of December 2016 reported that take-up of the ISO 9001: 2015 standard has been slow, with 80,596 organisations upgrading their certification to ISO 9001:2015 compared with 1,025,761 organisations who retain certification to the 2008 version of the standard.

It further reported that 23,167 certificates were issued to ISO 14001:2015, out of 346,189 total certifications to ISO: 14001.

Following discussions at the IAF Technical Committee, and with the transition process for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001: 2015 now in its closing stages, IAF has published a further statement, which is reproduced in its entirety below, regarding the process to be followed by certified organisations for whom the audit process has been started but will not be completed by the deadline.

Deadlines for both ISO 9001: 2015 and ISO 14001: 2015 have now been extended. According to a technical bulletin published by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) on 22 June, companies can be awarded certification to the new versions provided that they have initiated the certification audit process by 15 September 2018 and outstanding activities are completed by 15 March 2019.

It should be noted that “provided that the audit process has been initiated” means that auditing has already taken place in accordance with the agreed process for that client i.e. at least the document review and/or head office audit (depending on their documented transition plan/process) needs to have been started prior to 15 September 2018 for the 6 months rule above to apply. It is not enough for the contract review to have been completed or the visit booked, audit activity must have started. Therefore, where client certificates include historic dates they will need to show a gap in certification.

The imposition of the high-level structure on ISO 45001:2018, the occupational health and safety management system standard will facilitate the integration of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 with ISO 45001.Organisation have until March 2021 to transition from OHSAS 18001:2007 to ISO 45001:2018.

The IAF statement reads: –

“It was confirmed that on 15 September 2018 all ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certificates will expire and will no longer be valid.

When transition activities are successfully completed prior to 15 September 2018, the expiry date of the new certification can be based on the expiry date of the existing certification. The issue date on a new certificate shall be on or after the certification decision.

If the certification body has not completed the transition audit or the certification body is unable to verify the implementation of corrections and corrective actions for any major nonconformity prior to 15 September 2018, then certification to the new versions shall not be recommended. The client shall be informed and the consequences shall be explained i.e. their certification has expired and is no longer valid.

Following 15 September 2018, the certification body can issue certification to the new versions within 6 months (15 March 2019) provided that the audit process has been initiated by 15 September 2018 and the outstanding transition activities are completed (by 15 March 2019). The effective date on the certificate shall be on or after the certification decision and the expiry date shall be based on prior certification cycle.

If the transition audit process has not been initiated by 15 September 2018 and/or not completed by 15 March 2019 an initial audit shall be conducted. The effective date on the certificate shall be the date of the certification decision.”

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