ISO IN BRIEF
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the worldwide federation of national standards bodies, at present comprising more than 100 members, one in each country.
The object of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.
The results of ISO technical work are published as International Standards. ISO develops only those Standards that are required by the market.
The scope of ISO covers standardization in all fields except electrical and electronic engineering standards, which are the responsibility of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
However, application-specific standards for electrical and electronic equipment may well be developed within ISO – subject to agreement between both organizations.
ISO brings together the interests of producers, users (including consumers), governments and the scientific community, in the preparation of International Standards.
ISO work is carried out through nearly 3000 technical bodies. More than 30,000 experts from all parts of the world participate each year in the ISO technical work. ISO technical work has resulted in the publication of over 13,000 standards.
The technical work of ISO is carried out through Technical Committees (TC). In total more than 180 TC's exist. [TC 22 is responsible for road vehicles].
Each Technical Committee may, in turn, establish Subcommittees (SC) and Working Groups (WG) to cover different aspects of its work.
Each Technical Committee or Subcommittee has a secretariat, assigned to an ISO member body; in case of technical committees, by the Technical Management Board, and in the case of subcommittees, by the parent TC. For each working group, a convener is appointed by the parent SC.
Within their scopes, Technical Committees and Subcommittees determine their own programmes of work, according to criteria that have been established by the Technical Management Board to identify the market requirements for individual work items.
To ensure coordination of work in all matters of common interest, liaisons are established between related Technical Committees.
Each member body interested in a subject for which a Technical Committee has been authorized has the right to be represented on that committee.
Member bodies that decide to take an active part in the work of a Technical Committee or Subcommittee are designated as P-members (Participating members) of that committee. They have an obligation to vote and, whenever possible, to attend meetings.
Member Bodies that wish only to be kept informed of the work of a Technical Committee or SC are registered as O-members (Observers).
Detailed rules for the technical work are given in the ISO/IEC Directives.
How an international standard is developed
An International Standard is the result of an agreement between the member bodies of ISO.
An International Standard may be used as such, or may be implemented through incorporation in national standards of different countries.
The first important step towards the development of an International Standard is confirmation of the market requirement for such a standard. This is ascertained by consulting the P-members of the appropriate Technical Committee of Subcommittee (New Work Item Enquiry).
Once the market requirement has been confirmed, the ISO Central Secretariat registers the item in the responsible committee's programme of work and drafting is undertaken in the relevant Working Group.
When consensus has been reached among the experts in the Working Group, the Draft Standard is submitted by the parent Technical Committee or Subcommittee as a Committee Draft (CD).
When agreement is finally reached within the committee, the Committee Draft is sent to the Central Secretariat for registration as a Draft International Standard (DIS); the DIS is then circulated to all member bodies for voting. In many countries, the DIS is made available for public enquiry, thereby, ensuring the widest possible consultations. If 75 % of the votes cast are in favour of the DIS, it is accepted for further processing as a Final Draft international Standard (FDIS) which is circulated to all member bodies for formal adoption by ISO. Again, 75 % of the votes cast must be in favour of the FDIS in order for the International Standard to be published.
Standards require periodic review. Several factors combine to render a standard out of date: technological evolution, new methods and materials, new quality and safety requirements. To take account of these factors, ISO has established the general rule that all ISO standards should be reviewed at intervals of not more than five years.
Types of ISO Standards
Requirements or Specification Standard
Examples include ISO 22000, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001
Guideline or Implementation Standard
Examples include ISO/TS 22004 and ISO 9004
Examples include ISO 19011 and ISO/TR 10013