Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dr. Strangeaudit or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Read the COIs

So, what the #$%@ are COIs?

COIs, or Clarifications of Intent, are written by TC 207.

Well, who the $%&# are they?!

Technical Committee 207 is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee responsible for developing the ISO 14000 series of standards and guidance documents.

In other words, they write the standard you are trying so hard to follow, so when they provide a clarification it is "normative" - sort of like God giving Moses advice on how to apply the 10 commandments. It is the official "intent" of the standard.

Great! So where do we get a hold of these puppies? Click on this link. It takes you to a page listing links to the various COI documents, which you can pull up in MS Word.

Which brings me to an important note: be sure to read the blog titled the "ABCs of COIs"

Remember, COIs are the official "intent" of the standard - a "shall" so to speak. So when Dr. Strangeaudit tells you the standard intends something, it should be in alignment with the COIs. Now you have the power to defend yourself and your program against unreasonable and arbitrary findings and opinions. Woo Hoo! Knowledge truly is power (but be sure to read the "ABCs of COIs" first!!!!).

Those with keen auditor skills may have noticed that link to the COIs takes you to the American Society for Quality (ASQ) site. TC 207 has their own website (and if you have explored it, give yourself an ISO star) with a pretty good basic FAQ about what ISO 14001 is all about (from the horse's mouth so to speak). What the website does NOT have is a link to the COIs (duh!). It also looks like the site hasn't been updated since maybe 2003. Brilliant!

Anyway, the ASQ site is pretty much the only place to get them, although a Google search for the COIs won't take you directly there.

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