Rules set for easing transition to ISO 9000:2000 standards
How will companies make the switch from the present ISO 9000 series of standards for quality management to the forthcoming ISO 9000: 2000? Smoothly, hope officials of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), publishers of the standards. ISO and the International Accreditation Forum have agreed on some rules to ease the transition. Accredited certificates to the new ISO 9001 shall not be granted until ISO publishes ISO 9001:2000 as an international standard. Publication is slated for the fourth quarter of this year. However, assessments for certification and registration to the new standard may begin before the publication date. Such assessments should be based on the draft version in circulation among ISO’s member national standards institutes for a five-month period that ends April 25. Certificates issued under the 1994 editions of ISO 9001, ISO 9002, or ISO 9003 will still be valid up to three years after ISO publishes ISO 9001:2000. The Internet has the full set of new rules at www.iaf.nu. Many firms already are complaining that the fresh standards will force them to rewrite quality manuals that follow the standards’ numbering scheme. Whereas ISO 9000:1994 had 20 elements, ISO 9000:2000 has re-ordered all 20 into four major sections. The current standards also are oriented strongly toward manufacturing, while the ISO 9000:2000 family gives increased attention to service industries.
Powertrain interface set for use in variety of embedded controls
Originally designed for automotive powertrain applications, a standard has been altered so it can provide a general-purpose interface for software development and debug of many types of embedded processors. IEEE- ISTO 5001™-1999 is the first industry group standard published by the Industry Standards and Technology Organization of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The group sees the revised standard as particularly benefiting firms designing embedded control applications for data communications, computer peripherals, and wireless systems. Contact Tom Rubinstein at t.rubinstein @ieee.org.
Management rules proposed again for occupational health, safety
The quest for world standards for management of occupational health and safety systems has revived. The British Standards Institution has submitted a proposal to the ISO Central Secretariat for a new ISO technical committee to draft such standards. ISO has circulated this proposal for official voting. Three years ago ISO decided not to act on a similar proposal. At a special meeting in 1997, ISO’s Technical Management Board had found little support for such standards among more than 300 delegates from 45 countries. The majority felt that social and economic conditions varied too much among nations to hope that such occupational standards could work. Furthermore, they said, corporations are still trying to adjust to new international standards for management of quality and the environment. Defenders of the proposal argued that the standards would help make jobs safer around the world and promote global trade. Fax Keith Tozzi at 011 44 181 996 7001.
Web database enables comparisons of measurements around world
With a click of a computer mouse, engineers, regulators, and others can now resolve many problems arising from differences among official measurements in various countries. The National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France have set up a database of measurement comparisons that you can access on the Internet. The data come from multinational exercises that determine how closely a particular measurement—of voltage, length or mass, for example—performed by one national metrology institute (NMI) agrees with results achieved by other participating NMIs. About 130 of these round-robin measurement exercises are under way. You can reach the database through www.bipm.fr.
Forum gives bigger voice to UN in promoting global standards
The new ISO president, Italy’s Giacomo Elias, wants to involve the United Nations more deeply in the development of international standards. He has launched a forum called the Standards Actions in the Global Market (SGM). At forum meetings, representatives of five UN organizations hold round-table discussions with private and government developers or users of standards. Says Elias: “I am convinced that the SGM Forum is destined to play a very special role as a facilitator of a greater partnership of public and private sectors—a theme which we know is very dear to the heart of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan.” E-mail Lawrence D. Eicher at firstname.lastname@example.org.