ISO abandons effort to draft health and safety standards
A quest for global standards for managing occupational health and safety has bombed. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has decided to take no further action on the effort.
At a special meeting in Geneva, ISO's Technical Management Board found little support for such standards among more than 300 delegates from 45 countries. ISO, however, left the door open a crack for future consideration of the matter. It plans to act as a clearing house for information on standardization activities around the world in the field of occupational health and safety. ISO, meanwhile, is moving ahead in other areas. It is setting up a technical advisory group to consider integrating the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 series of management standards for quality and environment, respectively. The group will make recommendations before the end of 1997. ISO also is forming an ad hoc advisory group to study whether it should start developing global standards for protection of personal information. The group is to make a preliminary report to the board by September and a final report by April 1998.
One-stop global certification becomes reality in July
A system for meeting the outcry among ISO 9000 users for "one-stop certification" is slated to begin operating in July. Called the Quality System Assessment Recognition (QSAR) program, it is a joint project of ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission. The aim is to set up a chain of QSAR-approved bodies that accredits organizations that issue ISO 9000 certificates to companies and other groups. All accreditation outfits in the system will honor the QSAR logo, which is being designed. In July accreditation bodies will begin judging their peers according to guidelines on conformity assessment set up by the two sponsors. Bodies that pass will become QSAR members. QSAR officials have decided not to expand the program to include certifications under ISO 14000 environmental standards. But they may do so in the future.
Pocket-size paperbacks summarize ISO 14000, QS-9000 provisions
You can slip the basics for complying with the ISO 14000 and QS-9000 standards into your shirt pocket now that Quality Resources (QR) of New York City has published The ISO 14000 Miniguide. For those interested in the new international guidelines for environmental management, it gives an overview of the five major ISO 14000 requirements and their subclasses plus a glossary of related terms. Another pocket book, The QS-9000 Miniguide, covers quality management standards used in the automotive industry. Authors John T. Rabbitt and Peter A. Bergh earlier wrote a similar pocket guide to ISO 9000. A third new paperback from QR is Safety Management and ISO 9000/QS-9000. It is a resource for organizations that want to align their safety- and quality-management systems. The book has examples of how organizations have successfully used ISO or QS standards to promote safety. Quality Resources' phone number is (800) 247-8519.
Flexible system tests products for mix of European standards
Demand surges for new systems that can test a variety of products for compliance with expanding European standards. One response comes from SVT, the engineering department of Quelle IWU of Nuremberg, Germany. Quelle, one of the largest mail-order houses in the world, claims to sell "everything from underwear to satellite receivers." SVT has developed a universal testing (UT) system for qualifying a host of Quelle merchandise, including vacuum cleaners, bicycles, furniture, lamps, dish washers, and washing machines. UT consists of a personal computer with data-logging software based on National Instruments' (Austin, TX) LabView, and a color laser monitor. UT's pretest function can compute up to 50 harmonics. The system can stimulate devices under test in different ways. Its standard method is to supply a variable ac voltage. External GPIB-driven instruments handle power analysis and other heavy-duty computations. Quelle officials say the UT system has replaced expensive multichannel hybrid recorders.
Software simplifies data analysis
World standards for managing quality and the environment have stimulated use of sophisticated statistics at every stage of production. Now there is help for busy engineers and others who have not kept up with the latest statistical tools and processes. SPSS Inc. of Chicago has put a Statistical Coach® into SPSS 7.5 for Windows 95 and NT, the new version of its prime software. Coach guides users to the correct statistical procedure to use by asking a series of simple questions. Another innovation is the Variance Component Estimation procedure. It assesses how much each component affects variation. You can see immediately if your results are significant or if differences are random. SPSS can convert your findings into JPEG or HTML formats for posting on the Internet or an intranet.