Risk management is one of the basic requirements as described in the HLS (High Level Structure). This HLS applies to all standards that “are plugged into it” and the High Level Structure (HLS) of the new ISO management systems has six clearly distinguished elements:

  1. Leadership and Creativity
  2. Risk
  3. Compliance Management
  4. Process Approach
  5. Improve Management
  6. Monitoring and Detection

When integrating systems such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, we have always looked at overlapping elements as “lean and mean” and their integration as much as possible. However, this blog is not so much about this radical change at first sight. A bigger change I see for yourself in the refurbishment of the elements Corrective and Preventive actions.

The elements Correction and Preventive encountered resistance in many organisations. Discovery of errors is often bad enough, administering them is like treason and investigation the root cause is insane. With this percepetion, of course, you can never keep it nice and cosy in the company. Thoughts about risks, and recording them is often experienced as an “American” experience to be able to blame afterwards.

The first two points of the HLS are therefore extremely important and elementary. New? No, not at all! Most companies estimate – prior to projects or processes – all the risks and try to eliminate them.  In the years ahead – I expect – leadership herein are key. In this time of uncertainty good leadership is essential, after all, despite all the tensions a culture that allows errors – but don’t make the same mistake twice AND be able to demonstrate a decent performed risk assessment – is necessary.

With this in mind words like creativity, leadership and risk management as described in the new standard gives a lot of homework to companies.

Actually, isn’t it is a pity that we have misunderstood the paragraph “Preventive action” for all these years?


Guest author: Robert Paul Boer


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