Quality, safety and environmental control standards are becoming part of daily
requirements for most industries and economic activities.
The ISO 9000 quality standard is already widely accepted - and expected -
throughout the industry, and in fact non-complying suppliers are being
dropped from the supply chain in many cases.
On the environmental dimension two different systems are competing in the
marketplace: ISO 14001 and EMAS. If - as many people fear - we end up with a two-speed
environmental management system option with EMAS being the more 'demanding' and ISO the
'lower' standard, the implications for companies are difficult to evaluate.
In the safety area, problems associated with occupational safety,
manipulation of hazardous substances and hazardous operations
(e.g., European Directives 91/155, 93/112 and 92/68/EC for large installations)
raise considerable problems as well and need to be integrated with the quality systems.
In the environmental domain,
Both EMAS and ISO 14000 raise new problems, unknown to the ISO 9000 application,
namely the difference in existing national disparities in technological,
political, social, and legal
frameworks for environmental protection and
ISO 14001 requires that organizations have knowledge of these laws,
commit to comply with them, and establish processes that bring and
maintain such compliance. This will be particularly true for those operating
in several countries.
There may be a strong tendency and desire to use the same test to
evaluate management systems in different countries, which may lead
either to non-compliance in particular cases or to
surplus expenditure in others. The differences in enforcement regimes
are even larger.
The purpose of the IQEM project is to develop tools to help companies
establish integrated quality, safety and environmental management systems,
in particular in a multinational environment and diverse regulation and
enforcement situation. The system has two different components:
In-Industry or Intranet component, including a database, client
programs systems in an Intranet client-server implementation,
allowing for the implementation, control and monitoring of the three
Internet (or Extranet) component, storing national regulations and
laws, European directives and standards, etc., thus allowing for a
unique reference for companies preparing the certification
and for auditors to check compliance.