EU 'Brexit' and International Standards

SQMC explain how the Brexit will (or won't) affect ISO Standards.

Following the decision taken by the United Kingdom to exit the European Community during the EU referendum on the 23rd June 2016, SQMC would like to keep its clients informed as to how this may affect all the management system standards we all work with, such as BS EN ISO 9001 and many others.

Firstly, the decision itself to leave the European Community is yet to be ratified by Westminster Parliament. The adoption of Article 50 of the Community to trigger the legal mechanism for Great Britain’s exit from the Union is still pending at this moment.

This implementation process could take at least two years to negotiate with the other European State Members. As a result, some serious, political and constitutional issues are now affecting the UK, and these will ultimately have to be resolved. We cannot define at this stage when and how this will take place.

As you were...

We can advise, however, that management system standards are not affected and will continue to be “legal tender” as previously. This means that there are no changes to the standards and you and your company will be expected to work and adhere to the requirements of these standards as you did before this referendum result.

Looking beyond the two year period of negotiation and implementation, we would remind our clients that a BS EN ISO Standard such as 9001 and 14001 would still be “legal tender” when deployed in the UK alone and internationally after we have left the European Union, as such standards are international - standards that have also been adopted by the United Kingdom (hence the letters BS - 'British Standard' - in the reference title).

What about British Standards, such as BS OHSAS 18001?

BS OHSAS 18001:2007, the standard for occupational health and safety, is implemented in the United Kingdom since it is a British Standard. It has also been adopted by European and other international countries. Conveniently, this standard has been revised and is due for final adoption and release by ISO during 2017 as "ISO 45001", thus becoming an international standard which falls in the same category as the other international standards.

CE Marking

Regarding other, European-only standards, such as BS EN 1090 CE (marking of Steel and Construction Products Regulations for the circulation of construction products in the Single European Market), we suspect that the UK, after it leaves the European Union, will continue the adoption of such important legislation as it may otherwise preclude any trading arrangement between the UK and European Parties. Many other pieces of legislation are also likely to be adopted likewise under any new negotiated trading arrangements, similar to the single market which has existed for many years.

Don't panic!

We hope to have allayed your immediate fears during these turbulent times in our country. Rest assured that these management systems will - short and long term - continue to serve the many national and international users.

We suggest that you focus your attention on the transitioning of your company or yourselves to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015. If SQMC can be of any assistance to you - please don't hesitate to contact us.