This sector provides an example of the successful use of ISO standards at the regulatory level.

One key feature of this success is the representation of the ISO Technical Committee during the drafting of the regulatory recommendations. Another key feature is that the recommendations deal with issues of health and safety, so extra confidence is required in these standards. A mechanism is therefore put in place by the regulator to check the appropriateness of each standard before making reference to it. This example shows how clearly expressed, regulatory needs can lead to revisions and improvements in ISO standards.

Who is involved?

United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

This is the main international regulatory forum of experts responsible for harmonizing requirements for the safe transportation of dangerous materials on international journeys. It is made up of experts from national government departments.

ISO/TC 58, Gas cylinders

ISO/TC 58, Gas cylinders is responsible for preparing standards on gas cylinders, their fittings and characteristics for manufacture and use.

ISO/TC 220, Cryogenic vessels

ISO/TC 220, Cryogenic vessels is responsible for standardizing the containers needed for the safe storage and transport of refrigerated liquefied gases.

How is regulatory cooperation in this field achieved?

The UN Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods define the international requirements for the transport of dangerous goods in order to prevent, as far as possible, accidents to persons or property and damage to the environment. They are addressed to governments and international organizations concerned with drafting regulations for the transport of dangerous goods by sea, air and land.

The UN Recommendations include a key section on requirements for the construction and testing of pressure receptacles, aerosol dispensers and gas cartridges. Throughout this section there are many references to the ISO standards produced by ISO/TC 58, ISO/TC 197 and ISO/TC 220. This was achieved by ensuring effective representation of the ISO Technical Committee when the UN Recommendations were being drafted.
As key aspects of health and safety are involved, the appropriateness of each standard is assessed at the meetings of the UN Experts with the participation of delegates from the ISO Technical Committee. If the ISO work were to be deemed unsatisfactory, the ISO standard could be rejected and would need to be revised. Fortunately, this has not been necessary because of the close working relationship of ISO with the UN Committee of Experts backed up by the involvement of industry expert representatives in both organizations.

EXAMPLES BY SECTOR Overview

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Energy management
To continually improve energy performance and sustain it over time.
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Environmental management
To address problems related to climate change, for example.
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Food products
To ensure that food is safe for consumption.
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Laboratory medicine
To offer an important alternative to prescriptive regulations.
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Medical devices
Standards play an important role in allowing the rapid introduction of new medical device technology.
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Radio services
IEC/CISPR is responsible for the protection of radio services.
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Railways
IEC/TC 9 is responsible for the electrical equipment and systems used in railways.
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Road vehicles
Work to harmonize worldwide regulations for road vehicles.
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Ships and marine technology
Defining standards and requirements that affect safety, security and the environment.
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Transport of dangerous goods
How regulatory needs can lead to revisions and improvements in ISO standards.