EU members endorse ISO 14001 as prime environment
New guidelines for environmental management published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have made a major stride toward worldwide acceptance.
Representatives from the European Union's 15 countries voted to acknowledge ISO
14001 as the only European standard for environmental-management systems. By
next April, sanctioning groups in the member states will issue certificates
under ISO 14001 specifications rather than those drawn up by individual
countries. The vote came on the heels of ISO's official publication of 14001 and
14004 as the first in its 14000 series of standards. ISO 14001 provides
requirements that must be met by an organization seeking certification for an
environmental-management system. ISO 14004 offers guidelines for improving
existing systems or starting new ones. By the end of this month, three more
parts of the series will have been published: ISO 14010 covers auditing
principles, 14011 covers auditing procedures, and 14012 sets qualifications for
auditors. Next year ISO plans to publish four more parts. They will deal with
labels, declarations, life-cycle as-sessments of products, and terms and
definitions used in environmental management.
Health, safety proposal nets scant support
An effort to develop world standards on management systems for occupational health and safety has lost most of its steam. The prevailing opinion at a workshop on the matter in Geneva, Switzerland, was strongly negative. It echoed the reaction at a similar meeting in the U.S. earlier this year. About 400 representatives from 45 countries attended the Geneva sessions. 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. Results from the workshop and from questionnaires are being sent to ISO's Technical Management Board (TMB). That body will meet in January to consider whether to set up a technical committee to develop a draft of occupational health and safety standards. What if TMB decides to go ahead with the plan despite the opposition? In that case, most participants at the Geneva workshop insisted that any standards should be treated as recommendations and not used to certify companies.
Universal ISO 9000
goal: 'one audit, one certificate'
"One audit, one certificate -- for the whole world." For years that has been the appeal of companies seeking ISO 9000 status for their quality-management systems. Now ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission have appointed a board and charged it with answering industry's pleas. The board will oversee a Quality System Assessment Recognition (QSAR) program. Accreditation bodies that volunteer to join the program will undergo assessment by their peers. Those that pass will become QSAR members. When a certification body achieves recognition from a QSAR member it can use the QSAR logo. So can the companies that the certification bodies endorse. All organizations in the program will honor the QSAR logo. Some day, the board hopes, all ISO 9000 firms will have QSAR clearance.
New entry coming
in battle of side-impact dummies
What type of dummy should be used in automotive side-impact tests? In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been using the SID dummy that it developed in the late 1970s. European testers use the EuroSID dummy. General Motors prefers the BioSID dummy it designed. Almost everyone would like to have a single standard dummy for side-impact tests--if it's the one they're now using. The Occupant Safety Research Partnership, a consortium formed by U.S. automakers, has a fresh suggestion. It would like to see all testers use a new dummy, the SID-IIs. Unlike the other three dummies, SID-IIs has female dimensions. The first production SID-IIs is expected in the middle of next year. Researchers will try out the new, smaller dummy, but no one is predicting there will be agreement on a world dummy any time soon.
guidelines provided for measuring human bodies
An international standard promises to help those designing applications that must conform to human shapes. It is ISO 7250, titled "Basic Human Body Measurements for Technological Design." The standard aims to harmonize the way body measurements are taken. Thus, engineers can safely combine data from different ergonomists. Fifty-five drawings show human figures standing and sitting. They indicate where to start and stop various measurements and what instruments to use.