The 2015 revision of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 involves changes in a clause concerning the identification of the "context of the organisation" (Clause 4). Less prescriptive than its predecessor, and instead focusing on performance, the revised safety and environmental management standards give organisations the opportunity to better align the management system to their strategic goals.A significant change with this revision is the adoption of the High Level Structure (HLS) as set out in Annex SL of ISO Directives Part One. This new arrangement sets out ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001: 2015 with ten clauses instead of eight as with the previous versions. To be used in all management system standards, the HLS works in conjunction with each other to ensure ease in integration, especially where more than one standard is applied. The resulting improving linkages in processes and activities will deliver better value and efficiency. It provides a solid base for sector-quality standards and takes into account the needs of regulators.
A new requirement in the HLS is that the organisation must consider the operating environment which impact its strategic objectives and reflect on the Management System. Outlined as Clause 4, it considers defining the internal and external elements, legal requirements, and all other effects on stakeholders.
The general context of the organization can be classified as:
- Internal context: any actions or products and services that may affect your environmental performance
- External context: may include legal, economic, social, or political issues
In other words, to prepare for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 compliance, the organisation's quality and environmental performance should be monitored and reviewed from a "helicopter view".
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