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ISO Consumer update

No. 16 - October 2013

….An update of ISO's activities regarding standards and consumer protection, for the members and stakeholders of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).

ISO/COPOLCO is ISO's forum for promoting consumer interests in standardization. Its mission is to:

  • Enhance the market relevance of International Standards by promoting and facilitating the input of consumers' views into ISO's policies, procedures, standards and services
  • Help consumers around the world benefit from standardization.

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What's happening …

Non-compliance with standards puts lives at risk says Russian Prime Minister

In a letter welcoming participants to the General Assembly of ISO, the world’s largest developer of International Standards, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said: "It is hard to overestimate the importance of adhering to standards in those industries where their incompliance might leave people’s lives at risk and entail industrial and environmental disasters."
GOST-R, ISO's member from Russia, hosted the ISO General Assembly and related meeting in Saint Petersburg from 16-21 September.


World Standards Day highlights standards and innovation

Celebrate World Standards Day on 14 October with the theme, “International Standards ensure positive change”.

Each year on 14 October, the World Standards Cooperation, a partnership of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) highlights the critical role of international standards in facilitating international trade, supporting regulation and ensuring consumer product safety, with a joint communication and a poster competition.

The World Standards Cooperation, set up in 2001, promotes voluntary consensus-based International Standards of IEC, ISO and ITU, and acknowledges the thousands of experts worldwide who develop International Standards.


ISO rolls out new Focus magazine

Our ISOfocus magazine, the publication with latest news and features on International Standards, is now sporting a brand new design. Available for free download it highlights the benefits of International Standards in clear, simple language.

See an article featuring important standards for consumers, including ISO 10008, Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for business-to-consumer electronic commerce transactions, published in May.


What's new in International Standards

Get consumers involved

We often talk about how important standards are for consumers. They help ensure products are safe, environmentally friendly and work well. In short, without standards, life would be very difficult.

But the flipside of this relationship, how important consumers are for standards, does not always get the attention it deserves.

ISO's free-to-use online training Consumers and Standards: Partnership for a Better World provides unique insight into how to use, understand and influence international standards from a consumer rights perspective, and helps experts from other fields understand how consumer advocates approach standards.

This recently released on-line tutorial, announced in the last Consumer Update, will soon be followed by a CD Rom version, available for free.

Consumers International contributed substantially to its revision, and for further practical training, Consumers International has launched its first e-learning course supplementing its new webinar programme and resource zone.

The course is made up of five one-hour sessions, taken over a five week period starting in early November 2013. This e-learning experience will give consumer advocates the knowledge and confidence to:

  • Understand what standards are and what they can do;
  • Explain to others the need for consumer participation;
  • Show how good standards can improve consumer goods and services;
  • Find tools and resources needed to participate in standardisation use;
  • Know how to use standards to improve consumer protection.

Contact for more information and to register.


Publications that support consumer participation

See Section 7 for helpful references in Consumers and Standards: Partnership for a Better World for consumer participation (and standards development and procedures).

Many ISO/IEC publications usefully support consumer representatives, but this section will help you know what is available and which are most appropriate for your interests. As the tutorial is modular, you can navigate right to this section.

See Section 7.2.3 on ISO/IEC guides specifically written for the use of standards writers. An ISO brochure, How ISO/IEC Guides add value to International Standards, lays out the benefits. Some examples helpful to consumer representatives are Guide 37, Instructions for the use of products by consumers; Guide 71, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities and Guide 50, Guidelines for child safety.


How to write standards

This new 9-page ISO publication provides straightforward guidance on How to write standards in simple, easy to understand English. The text contains lots of examples, which bring the guidance to life. The booklet outlines a standard's structure and the information each section should include. It will be a useful tool for committees, where it can help make standards easier to understand, avoiding jargon and unnecessary use of technical terms. It is also a useful introduction for those new to standards development.


New occupational health and safety work

6 300 people die every day as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – more than 2.3 million deaths per year.

ISO has just approved the creation of a new project committee to develop an International Standard for Occupational Health and Safety. This much-awaited standard will provide governmental agencies, industry, and other affected stakeholders with effective, usable guidance for improving worker safety in countries around the world. The work will be overseen by ISO Project Committee 283, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements.


Revised information security management system to better tackle IT security risks

ISO/IEC 27001, the popular information security management system standard is being revised, with the new version set to be published in October 2013. Edward Humphreys, convener of the working group, explains the revision.


The role of leader competence in adventure tourism

What are the desirable competencies of activity leaders, and their results for adventure tourism? ISO/TR 21102:2013 indicates common elements indispensable for leading any successful adventure tourism activity.


Mow your lawn safely

ISO 5395-2:2013 specifies safety requirements for pedestrian-controlled lawnmowers (not for robotic and remote-controlled ones). It deals with all significant hazards, hazardous situations or events relevant to lawnmowers when used as intended and under the conditions of misuse which are reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer.


Quality management systems: ISO 9001 draft available to buy

The Committee Draft of the revision of ISO 9001 is now available to buy from the ISO webstore for 38 Swiss francs. While still a draft and subject to change, the document gives you a chance to look at the changes already proposed.


Financial standards developers receive leadership award

The achievement of ISO technical committee 68, Financial Services, has been recognized through an award for excellence and superior performance, presented by ISO President Terry Hill on 18 September at the 36th ISO General Assembly, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


Improved fire alarms for safer buildings

A new ISO standard on the design and installation of fire detection and alarm systems will help save lives and protect property and the environment. The purpose of such systems is to be able to detect a fire inside or outside a structure as early as possible. In the past, equipment performance has often been hampered by poor system design and installation, as well as inadequate maintenance.


Water matters!

How does the leading global operator in water services ensure quality to over 100 million people worldwide? By applying International Standards. Explore this issue of ISOfocus and discover how ISO standards help us manage our shared water resources equitably and durably.


Sunglasses – Not just for looks with new ISO standards

Many do not realize the importance of protecting our eyes from the sun in order to prevent cataracts, vision loss, blurriness and skin cancer, not to mention wrinkles. And if you do, how certain are you that the pair of sunglasses you bought is actually keeping you safe?


The incredible story of diving standards

Read a real story about why standards are key for the tourism industry. Here is the tale of one man, a small company, and a revolutionary standard that transformed one of the largest tourism activities worldwide: diving.


Consumers International's strategy bears fruit

Consumers International has published its annual report and strategy 2015.

Highlights include World Consumer Rights Day; the revision of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection; involvement in the G20/OECD taskforce to create principles for financial consumer protection; contribution to the development of WHO policy on non-communicable diseases; and international gathering looking at the challenges consumers face in the new digital landscape.


Regional news


African Consumers get a new voice

At the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)'s General Assembly in June 2013, Sudan's Standards and Metrology Organisation (SSMO) volunteered to host the Committee on Consumer Policy of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO COCO).

ARSO COCO will act as Africa's consumer voice in standardization:

  • representing, promoting and protecting African consumer interests in national, regional, and international standards;
  • involving consumers in standards development by providing African representation to the international community of consumer specialists for issues of consumer policy
  • encouraging the representation of the African consumer interest in the creation of technical standards;
  • providing a forum for the exchange of information and experience on standards and conformity assessment issues of interest to African consumers;
  • providing information on how standardization benefits consumers and how consumers can contribute to standards development.

See Sudan's entry in the ISO Directory for Consumer Participation.



A European consumer strategy for 2014-2020

ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, which defends consumer interests in the process of standardisation and certification, has released its strategy, in  full and short version, along with a press release.

Helping all people to enjoy tourism

The European Commission has launched an initiative to gather information on how to improve accessible tourism in Europe. It has issued a survey for tourism businesses to collect information on their experiences providing accessible tourism facilities and services. A similar survey for users aims to gather information on travellers’ experiences. ANEC will follow these studies closely, believing any improvement to the accessibility of tourism services would benefit all consumers.

Accident data for better standards

EuroSafe, the European Association for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, together with EUPHA, the European Public Health Association, are organizing a conference on ‘The use of injury data for driving accident prevention policies and actions in countries and at EU-level’ in Brussels on 13 November 2013. It will demonstrate the value of emergency room injury information for consumer product safety policies and implementation practices. ANEC will focus on the need for accident data as the driver for effective standards for products and services, as part of its Joint call for a pan-European accident & injury data system with EuroSafe and EUPHA.



Around the world … COPOLCO member news


The Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality Control (EOS) has recently revised or developed several national standards: the ES 4637/2013, Warranty Certificate and ES 7183/2012 Service, Repair, and Maintenance Centers. EOS has also developed a draft standard on patient rights and responsibilities and has published information on consumer product instructions and a labeling system. Seven years after promulgation, Egypt’s Consumer Protection Law 67/2006 is now also undergoing review.
Egypt’s Consumer Protection Agency plays an active role in educating the public about this law. EOS has also prepared and participated in several consumer training programmes.



Easier packaging

Have you ever struggled to open a package? What about older and disabled people?
Dr Gabriela Fleischer of our German member, DIN's Consumer Council, is working on a standard to make opening a range of packaging more intuitive and easier... See our fun video (in German – yet universally understandable).



Consumer-friendly Singapore

Singapore's consumers increasingly benefit from mediation provided by Singapore Consumers Association (CASE); promoting an atmosphere of fair and ethical trade practices.

In September 2013, 36 business associations agreed to use the CASE Mediation Centre as a foremost step to settle disputes with consumers. Mediation is simple and informal for both parties. Amicable settlement may include rebates, gift vouchers, or performing the original contract.

CASE's 137 impartial experts mediated 147 cases in 2012, settling 105: a 72% success rate, and have improved the recovered amount for consumers by 32% from SGD 259 000 in 2011 to SGD 341 000 in 2012. This improved rate of settlement is an encouraging sign of increasing consumers’ and businesses’ awareness of mediation, its advantages and attraction.

CASE hopes to encourage more consumers and businesses to participate in the mediation, as choosing mediation over litigation would result in substantial cost savings and a win-win for both parties.

See ISO/COPOLCO member SPRING SG's work for consumers in ISO's Directory for Consumer Participation.



Welcome Sri Lanka as a fully participating member!

Sri Lanka now fully participates in ISO/COPOLCO. You can find out more about how SLSI, the Sri Lanka Standards Institution works for consumers in the ISO Directory for Consumer Participation.



Welcome Christine Heemskerk, new Chair of the British Standards Institution's Consumer & Public Involvement Network!

From 1 October 2013, Christine Heemskerk, a member of the British Standards Institution's Consumer & Public Involvement Network (BSI-CPIN) since 2011, and outgoing Chair of the United Kingdom's Trading Standards Institute, succeeds consumer champion Lynn Faulds Wood, who has just completed her three years as Chair.

In her new role, Christine will:

Accessible homes

A new British standard sets out advice on the design of ordinary homes to help make them more accessible for people with disabilities, including some wheelchair users.

BS 9266, Design of accessible and adaptable general needs housing – Code of practice is for property developers, builders and anyone involved in housing development. The standard draws on sources including the Lifetime homes design guide and the government document Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods.

See the 16 Lifetime Homes criteria.

A standard for rat catchers?

The Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA) is sponsoring a European standard setting out the requirements, recommendations and competencies for pest management services companies to meet their customer's needs; whether private companies, public authorities or the general public.

The Pest Management Services standard is out for public comment in the United Kingdom until 4 November.


Did you know …?

1.4 billion people are estimated to not have access to safe water; and 2.6 billion do not have access to sanitation. Find out more in the special issue on Water by ISOFocus+.


To find out more...

Visit us at ISO and Consumers on ISO's Website.

Is the ISO member in your country a member of COPOLCO?
If not, encourage this national standards body to join COPOLCO!

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ISO Consumer update is a free service by the Secretariat of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO). Editor: Ms Dana Kissinger-Matray, Secretary of ISO/ COPOLCO. Contributor: Ms Katia Kerswell

ISO Consumer update gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Marketing, Communication and Information services of the ISO Central Secretariat.


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