ISO Secretary-General Robert Steele

ISO's Road Safety Standard Moving Forward

The International Organization for Standardization is making progress toward an international standard for road traffic safety management systems, even as ISO is welcoming a new leader to move faster on its current strategic plan. ISO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the world's largest developer of consensus standards. They address a wide range of subjects, from safety to sustainable construction, water quality to disaster preparedness.

An example is ISO 15743:2008, a standard first issued in February 2008 that addresses ergonomic risks for workers in cold environments. The standard includes a model and methods for risk assessment, a model and method for occupational health professionals to identify individuals having symptoms that increase their cold sensitivity, and guidelines for applying international thermal standards and other validated scientific methods when assessing cold risks.

ISO's work on the road traffic safety management standard began in June 2008 with a new project committee formed to develop the standard. The committee, ISO/PC 241, Road safety management, has been assigned to the SIS Swedish Standards Institute and held its first meeting in Stockholm. ISO/PC 241 will develop a standard following the generic management system approach pioneered by ISO 9001:2000 for quality management and then used in ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 28000 (supply chain security). ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden said the standard "will help to fulfill the UN's objective of improving global road safety, e.g. by providing public services and private companies operating fleets of vehicles -- including for transportation services, freight and car rentals -- with a specific and globally recognized safety management system standard."

The October 2008 issue of the ISO Focus magazine examined the standards that support the construction of intelligent and sustainable buildings. The issue included a report on the development of the traffic safety standard.

Bryden, secretary-general since March 2003, is about to step aside. Beginning Jan. 1, ISO's secretary-general will be New Zealand accountant Robert Steele, who was appointed by the ISO Council at a meeting in Dubai on Oct. 17, 2008. Steele was CEO of Standards New Zealand until 2007 and previously was CEO of an electricity distribution and retail company there, according to ISO.

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