About the AS/NZS ISO 31000: 2009 and Equivalent Standards Found Globally
The ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. Many of ISO’s members also belong to regional standardisation organisations. ISO has recognised regional Standards Organisations representing the Middle Eastern Countries, Africa, and the areas covered by the Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe, Latin America, the Pacific area, and the South-East Asian nations. This has made it almost impossible to write a specific Standard that meets the legislation and documentation needs of each country, due to the vast differences in laws throughout the world. The following regional bodies are currently committed to adopting ISO standards as their National Standards for their members:
- African Regional Organization for Standardization (AROS)
- Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO)
- European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
- Pan American Standards Commission (COPAS)
- Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC)
(ISO 2010, p.1).
In the United Kingdom, many of these documents focusing on risk management, stem from the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). This document compares with the AS/NZS ISO 31000 in many ways. The risk management process along with all the contributing factors are tabled and explained. The IRM document explains the risk estimation procedures and provides clear tables of easily understood information on the probability of occurrences, threats and opportunities (IRM 2009, p.2). It categorises these factors into risk categories ranging from Low, Medium and High (IRM 2009, p17). The Australian documentation section provides similar information, but in many ways is more readily understood. This is because the IRM document needs to refer to legal requirements for policy statements due to the fact that these documents are not legislation, but may in time become legislation. The IRM document also focuses heavily on the role of the internal auditing process (IRM 2009, p.4). The IRM Risk Management Standard is more readily available to all organisations and individuals because the IRM is a non-for-profit organisation, and provides this product free to download.
The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is a body that was established in 1945 as a direct result of an act of parliament and continues to update current standards (SABS 2010, p.1). SABS has members appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry and have many objectives. These include the issuing of National Standards and obtaining membership of Foreign and International Bodies that have similar objectives. A large difference in this format and other standards found globally is the involvement of public enquiry in its design. For example, a new draft Standard is made available for public comment both nationally and internationally, during a period of public enquiry. A comment period of sixty days is normally required and a thirty-day comment period applies in the case of adoptions. The comments are received and then are reviewed. If no comments are received, or technical changes needed, the standard is deemed to be approved and is forwarded to the Standards Approval Committee for ratification. After ratification, the document is released for publication. With this focus on health, safety and the environment the basis for legislation is provided (SABS 2010, p.15).
The American system and documentation of standards is written more as a strategy and a long term plan that looks to the global future than just a focus on risk management today. The United States Standards Strategy (USSS) is a revision of the National Standards Strategy for the United States (NSS). The first NSS reaffirmed that the United States (U.S.) is committed to a sector-based approach to voluntary standardisation activities, both domestically and globally. It established a standardisation framework that was built upon the traditional strengths of the U.S. system, such as consensus, openness and transparency. It also provides additional emphasis to speed, relevance, and meeting the needs of public interest constituencies (USSS 2010, p. 8). The article asks Governments (at all levels in their consideration of policies and legislation), to recognize the societal benefits of standards development organisations and their role in public health and safety. Public Law 104-113, which is the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) remains the cornerstone at the federal level for promoting the use of voluntary consensus standards for both regulation and procurement within the US (NTTAA 1995, p.1).