Corona & Standards: Which Standards and Certifications are available?
In recent weeks, many people have asked whether there are any ISO standards that will help them navigate through the corona crisis. The bad news: there are no ISO standards that specifically address the current pandemic of COVID-19 infections. The good news: there are plenty of other standards and certifications that can serve as benchmarks. In this article, we will take you through some of the main ones.
What started as a health crisis has developed into a real crisis of confidence lately. In order to be successful, businesses need to convince:
- The authorities that they can operate safely and without spreading the corona virus
- Their employees that they do not risk their lives by coming to the workplace
- Their customers that they can rely on them without health risks or supply issues
Standards can play a crucial role in gaining this trust: they can specify requirements that organizations must comply with in order to ensure they can operate in a safe and hygienic way. In this article, we will provide an overview of available standards and initiatives. While there are no ISO standards that specifically tell organizations how to prevent COVID-19 infections or how to prepare for a pandemic, there are some others that will help businesses prepare for crises and disruptions.
The most popular of these is ISO 22301, which specifies requirements for a business continuity management system (BCM). The standard is part of the ISO’s 223x series that helps organizations to prepare for crises, develop response plans, evaluate the impacts, minimize the downtime and optimize recovery. Needless to say, all of these aspects are of tremendous value during a pandemic such as COVID-19, where lockdowns and supply chain disruptions continue to be a threat. Click here if you want to learn more about ISO 22301.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many local and national governments, health departments, supranational organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), universities and industry associations have also published a large variety of new guidelines. While these guidelines do an excellent job at explaining how businesses can resume their operations, most of them are not auditable: they are not designed to serve as a basis for audits and inspections.
To fill this need and to give businesses the possibility to demonstrate the implementation of preventative measures, DQS has developed a number of auditable protocols and certification solutions.
- Pandemics Due Diligence: self-assessment and audit enable you to evaluate your due diligence measures and get a third-party confirmation of their effectiveness.
- Hygiene & Disinfection Standard: Based on WHO Guidelines, the standard comes with credible third-party certification for organizations of all types and sizes.
- For some industry sectors, like hospitality and tourism, more specific requirements are available. Please consult the DQS CFS information page for details.
In addition, we invite you to visit the new website https://remote-audits.com/, a suite of solutions that combines the rigor of on-site audits with the flexibility of online assurance. Whether you choose a simple online gap assessment or our Enhanced Remote Audit protocol, rest assured that it is built upon our thirty years of experience as a global leader in certification and auditing.
Based on an article by Dr. Thijs Willaert, DQS CFS GmbH, published with permission
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