When ISO 9001:2015 was released, BSI had already begun issuing certificates within hours of that release, defying all belief. This helped ensure that the world knew the entire certification scheme is a joke. BSI claimed they were able to do this because they had already audited the clients to the draft of the standard months earlier, and then sat watching the clock, ready to hit “print” as soon as the clock struck 12:01 AM on the standard’s release day. Whatever.

Now they’re at it again, this time with ISO 45001, the new occupational health and safety standard. The new standard, which replaces the old OHSAS 18000 standard developed by BSI, was only published a few days ago on March 12, and within the predictable amount of time — minutes — the marketing machines started rumbling. Once again, in what appears to only be hours, construction firm Morgan Sindall began announcing that the first ISO 45001 cert had been issued to it by BSI.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t give me great confidence that a construction company sees nothing wrong with rushing its occupational health and safety standard certification within hours of the publication of the standard. If they rush that, what else do they rush?

Screaming “we’re first!” is meant to be some sort of advantage, and make their competitors look lazy. But in some industries —  you know, maybe construction companies that build tunnels and bridges — screaming “we’re first!” isn’t a good thing. Look at what happened in Miami yesterday, when a rushed pedestrian bridge was opened before it was allowed to be completed, promptly fell within days, and killed six people (so far — the final death toll isn’t known yet.) But, hey, Florida International University was bragging about how the bridge was “the first” just up until the point it killed a bunch of people.

(Oh, and the construction company that built the Miami bridge — Munilla Construction Management — boasts ISO 9001 certification from Bureau Veritas, because of course. I’ll have more reporting on that soon.)

BSI is sending a message that couldn’t reveal its craven, cynical view of its own products any more clearly: it knows these things are not about safety or quality or keeping people alive. Instead, it’s about rushing standards to print (remember, BSI controls most of the main ISO technical committees, and thus the publication calendars of those committees) and then rushing certificates to clients.

Meanwhile, UKAS is warning other CBs that they will need a “transfer audit” before they can release any ISO 45001 certificates, which can take months. It’s not clear at all how UKAS conducted a “transfer audit” of BSI before the standard was even published. I’ve reached out to UKAS on this, and will update this article when I get a reply.

This also goes to falsely support the made-up “three-year transition deadlines” set by ISO and IAF. If Morgan Sindall can accomplish ISO 45001 in only minutes, then there’s no reason you can’t do it in a few years, you morons.

It’s frustrating for many reasons, but the most glaring one is how open and in-your-face BSI is about this. At some point you’d think the UK government would stop to wonder why its darling boy BSI, along with momma UKAS, is working to dilute the trust and value of ISO standards and certifications.

UPDATE 20 March 2018: Technically, BSI issued a “letter of conformity” and not a certificate, but UKAS has ruled that would have been OK anyway. See my updated report here.

 

    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 25 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.