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What are the Steps to Certification?

What are the steps to certification?


You cannot get certified without documenting how your business addresses the essential criteria of the ISO 9001 or OHSAS standards.

Some of the requirements that you need to document in ISO 9001 for example include:

  • Setting objectives and plans
  • Preparing a set of procedures that cover key processes in your business as outlined in the standard
  • Having monitoring processes as prescribed by the standard
  • Keeping adequate records
  • Recording defects, with appropriate corrective action where necessary
  • Regularly reviewing individual processes and the management system itself for effectiveness and
  • Facilitating continual improvement.

In addition, you are required to have the following 6 written procedures. These procedure are shared by quality, safety, and environmental management system standards:

  1. Document control
  2. Internal audits
  3. Records control
  4. Non-conforming product
  5. Corrective actions
  6. Preventive actions (corrective and preventive actions can be in the same procedure).


Once your management system is documented and compliant with the standard for which you are seeking certification you must be able to show evidence that you follow your management system. This evidence will largely be in the form of records from your internal audits, non-conformance and preventative and corrective action reporting, management reviews as well as practical evidence that you are following the key processes documented in your management system as required by the standard.


Once your management system is documented in accordance with the criteria of the standard for which you are seeking certification, and you have sufficient evidence (history of records showing compliance) you are ready for your external certification body audit.

To be ready for the certification audit, you are required to have the following:

  • A written Management System
  • Procedures required by the Standard
  • Procedures that are needed by the organization to perform work
  • Evidence that you operate in accordance with the manual and procedures


The certification body audit is divided into two stages. Stage one is an initial desk top assessment of your written management system, procedures and other documentation. Stage one audits will normally be performed at your head office. The purpose of the stage one audit is to assess your readiness for certification. Stage two is an on-site assessment where the auditor will be auditing your business processes against your written management system.


Assuming you pass stages one and two, you will receive your certificate which is valid for 3 years.


To maintain your certification you need to continue to follow or comply with your management system. You will be re-audited (generally for 1 day) every 6 – 12 months. The ongoing audits are called surveillance audits.

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