With input from industry, academia, and government, ISO has published over 22,600 standards across a wide range of fields, some related to processes and others to products. You might find that more than a few ISO standards pertain to your organization — while you may want to pursue the certification process in one area, you can also become ISO compliant in other areas as a boon to your business. Here are some of the most popular categories of ISO standards:
The ISO 27000 family — and ISO 27001 specifically — is a popular standard that helps to ensure an organization is doing their utmost to protect the security of their information. The standard outlines in detail the best practices for developing Information Security Management Systems, and, like 9001 can be certified by third-party audit. Many organizations that are operationally mature choose to certify, because it signals to external stakeholders that the company is doing its utmost to protect and secure their information, and understands how to prevent cybersecurity breaches.
ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems (QMS) is the gold standard for organizations seeking to streamline the controls, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and policies they have around quality assurance. The ISO 9001 standard is certifiable by a third-party auditor and registrar, and covers the design and implementation of a QMS, including whether quality assurance documentation matches quality management practices. Other standards in the 9000 family cover quality control frameworks for more specific industries from road safety to solar panels.
From ISO 22000 for Food Safety to ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety, health and safety standards are some of the most popular and best known ISO offerings. These process-based standards help prevent occupational hazards, employee injury, and the spread of disease in the workplace. They also ensure the safety of products we use every day; an ISO compliant restaurant chain can help ensure their prepared foods are safe to consume and an automotive company can ensure their vehicles are safe for the road.
The ISO 14000 family of standards sets the framework for how organizations can best work with (and protect) the environment. ISO 14001, for example, outlines how to consider environmental systems, like weather patterns and diverse ecosystems, in developing, sourcing, and manufacturing products and services. The 14000 family also targets environmental audits, communications, and big-picture issues like climate change.
Tourism and large-scale events can create a strain on a region’s resources, labor, and ecology. ISO standards for event management helps to ensure that events are run safely, ethically, efficiently, and sustainably. Following ISO 2012, for example, can help those planning large-scale events to rest assured they are considering everything from capacity to zoning requirements to environmental and labor issues. ISO 20121 was released in preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London and ISO is continuing to work on even more specific guidelines for citywide events with ISO 22379. This fresh standard is still under development and is designed with events like the Winter 2022 Beijing Olympics in mind.
As the world adapts to environmental changes, companies are increasingly seeking to increase sustainability. ISO offers standards for sustainable resource management and energy use, including ISO 50001, which offers guidelines for organizations to develop efficient energy management systems (EnMS). Organizations across all sectors can benefit from improved energy use — ISO emphasizes that optimizing energy use is good for the bottom line and also allows organizations to communicate to their stakeholders that they are adopting more sustainable practices.
ISO 26000 was originally published in 2010 and expands the work ISO started in introducing ISO 14000. This standard offers guidance on how companies can become socially responsible, which extends to sustainability, human rights, labor practices, and economic development. ISO 26000 is ambitiously comprehensive, created in partnership with the International Labour Organization, the Global Compact, the OECD, and a variety of NGOs and community development specialists. It provides guidance alone and cannot be certified, but ISO considers it a product of international consensus.
ISO has released a number of standards that are very specific to healthcare settings and operations, including ISO 60601, a standard for using electrical equipment in medical settings. For example, as the world continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, ISO regulations for equipment like lung ventilators have become increasingly important. With input from medical professionals, academics, and NGOs, ISO has worked with the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) to release standards as specific and detailed as ISO/IEC 80369, which outlines how to use small-bore connectors for liquids and gases in healthcare applications.
ISO is known for a whole range of standards related to product design, manufacturing, and distribution. ISO 13485, for example, covers regulations and quality for medical devices, including how they are serviced and updated. There are also a number of standards related to road vehicle design and measurements, including fuel consumption in hybrid and electric vehicles, and standardization of the symbols you commonly see on your dashboard. ISO has also created a number of highly specific standards covering everything from mechanical pencils to medical devices like orthopaedic drills.
A strong compliance strategy will strengthen your stakeholders’ trust in your ISO practices and can increase your marketing success. ISO standards are complex and it can take many years to become compliant — staying compliant takes more than just minor maintenance, but it doesn’t need to be daunting. Modern compliance management software helps organizations keep on top of the multiple compliance frameworks and standards to support moving towards certification. AuditBoard’s compliance management software can help you plan, track, and review your ISO compliance strategy — learn how to get started today!