By Barnaby Lewis
A common expectation of improved safety in almost all aspects of our lives, from safer workplaces, to safer consumer products and food, highlights an important role for accreditation.
The challenge now faced by employers, businesses and government is to ensure that those expectations become reality. It’s a substantial task, made considerably easier thanks to International Standards that keep people safer in their homes, at their workplaces, and on their journeys. Many of these work as part of a coherent system of ISO management standards, addressing sectors from information security (ISO/IEC 27001) and food safety (ISO 22000), to the recently-published ISO 45001 — Occupational health and safety.
International Standards reassure employers, workers and consumers alike, providing a tried and trusted answer to any organization looking to improve the efficiency and safety of its processes. For many, getting certified is a way of showing the world that your services or products are packing the power of standards. While certification is not compulsory, many choose to engage an independent expert to verify the procedures and processes that they have in place.
But what processes exist for making sure that independent experts, really are just that? The answer lies in accreditation, where certifying bodies are themselves assessed and approved to provide certification services. The organizations responsible for coordinating accreditation activities on a global scale, are the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). They’re also the people behind the annual world accreditation day, celebrated each year on June 9.
The Chairs of both organizations have reiterated the importance of delivering a “safer world” and how accreditation can support government, regulators and businesses, aiming to keep people safer in their work, their domestic life, their journeys and all other parts of their lives.
For further information, consult the World Accreditation Day site, where you will find further information from ILAC and the LAF, as well as a brochure that shows how accredited testing, inspection and certification is being used to deliver a safer world.