By NZISM Secretary
For some time, New Zealand Inc. held observer (O) membership of ISO/Technical Committee 283 – Occupational Health and Safety Management. In October 2020, New Zealand moved to participating (P) membership. This came around due to specific interest relating to a standard being developed by working group 2 (WG 2), ISO/Draft International Standard (DIS) 45003 - Occupational health and safety management — Psychological health and safety at work: managing psychosocial risks — Guidelines. An International Review Group (IRG) was established made up of five persons, all with relevant backgrounds.
Standards NZ are now looking to expand the make-up of the IRG to ensure that we have stakeholders/interested parties involved who cover the full scope of standards development activity managed by ISO/TC 283. NZISM submitted an application of interest to join this IRG and has nominated Greg Dearsly to be its representative on this committee. Greg’s nomination was accepted at Decembers Standards Approval Board meeting.
What is Participating membership and what does it involve?
ISO has three levels of membership for each of its technical committees and subcommittees. Member countries decide which level of membership they require. As a country member of ISO, New Zealand has a choice of either non-member, observer member or participating membership of any of the ISO technical committees or subcommittees.
P membership allows direct involvement and the ability to influence and shape content of the standard under development. This cannot be achieved with either O membership or non-member status.
As its name suggests, Participating (P) membership requires active participation in the work of the technical committee or subcommittee. P membership includes an obligation to vote on all questions and documents submitted for vote in the technical committee, and to contribute to the committee's meetings. Participating membership includes the right to assign experts to working groups, which is where technical documents are drafted.
What is an International Review Group (IRG)?
An International Review Group (IRG), also referred to as a national mirror committee is a committee set up by an ISO Member to handle the standardisation work relating to a specific domain in its own country.
For each P-membership held, Standards New Zealand will establish an IRG to allow New Zealand stakeholders and interested parties to benefit from the opportunities it has to follow and/or participate in the ISO’s technical work. By having representatives of stakeholders and interested parties allows the relevant expertise to be able to actively contribute and influence ISO's work. At the same time, it ensures that New Zealand national experts stay up to date with the latest international developments in the given areas.
In the standardisation work of the ISO, each ISO TC (Technical Committee) or SC (Subcommittee) has its own specific field of activity and experts from all over the world contribute to its work. It is important that New Zealand is aware of and participates in the work of committees where there is significant benefit for New Zealander's to participate, or where there is significant risk to New Zealand industry if there is no participation.