It’s important for businesses and organisations to get ISO accredited; the International Organisation for Standardisation issues guidelines on best practices for institutions, which range from quality control to environmental plans, and covers certificates in ISO 9001 and ISO 4001. UK businesses can also acquire OHSAS18001 certification in general health and safety, and can target achieving a level of accreditation that can be used to increase compliance with ideal industry practices and attract more clients, while also establishing key performance indicators that can be periodically reviewed over time.
In terms of how ISO standards work, these are developed around international guidelines, and assessed by UKAS accredited certification bodies; in general, ISO accreditation will cover everything from facilities to staff and training, as well as environment standards. ISO 9001 focuses on quality management systems, which include how effective an organisation is at being customer led, and how committed it is to continually reviewing and improving itself.
ISO 9001 standards can also be used to assess customer service levels, as well as the quality of materials being used within a business; regular audits can be carried out to see whether businesses are meeting these standards, as well as how effectively they are being communicated from managers to staff, and whether there is a system in place for upgrading targets.
By comparison, ISO 14001 standards cover environment management, and also incorporate internationally agreed upon targets for how well a business is running policies; these policies and approaches can include whether a business is using environmentally friendly materials, as well as whether it has a system in place to reduce the harmful effects of its products, and if a clear recycling plan is being used. Compliance with ISO standards can also, in this context, involve having plans for emergencies that may lead to damage to the environment, such as fires or flooding.
It’s also possible for businesses to look into getting accredited for OHSAS 18001 regulations – although distinct from ISO, this certification can be a good complement to 14001 regulations, and focuses on health and safety in the workplace. Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems are generally administered in line with international and UK standards, and cover everything from the safety of offices through to risk management in operations.
When looking to get accredited, businesses and institutions will have to contact third party companies to carry out an audit – this can involve assessing whether or not everything is being done to make a workplace as safe as possible, as well as checking to see if all staff understand policies and how to follow them. It’s worth comparing as many accreditation companies as possible, as well as seeing whether or not they can offer consultancy and plans for improving practices to get up to ISO and OHSAS levels. Health and safety services can also carry out an analysis of how well a business is meeting standards prior to a third party assessment, and can recommend any changes that need to be made.