Certification enables companies to demonstrate that they are able to comply with the norms and standards in force for the production of their products and the performance of their services. Thanks to certification, individuals can provide proof that they have the competence defined in norms and standards and the knowledge necessary for specific scopes and tasks.
In the case of product certification, production processes, including business relationships can also be included in the assessment. If this proof is provided, it will be documented by the issuance of a certificate or attestation.
Certificates are usually issued for a specified term. Products, management systems or people will be subject to audits, inspections, or review in order to verify and re-verify their conformity with the standards/norms in question. These tasks are carried out by certification bodies. These bodies are often accredited for these tasks, or the accreditation may even be required by law.
Accreditation means formal recognition of a body's technical and organizational competence to provide a specific service, defined in the scope of the accreditation. Competence is the key to transparency, trust and comparability. In Switzerland, nationally and internationally recognized accreditations for certification bodies are exclusively granted by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS). The SAS is attached to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs but it makes its accreditation decisions independently and autonomously in accordance with applicable national and international regulations in force.
There are three types of certification:
- Management system certification
(Accredited certification bodies meet the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021-1)
- Certification of persons
(accredited certification bodies meet the requirements of ISO/IEC 17024)
- Certification of products, processes and services
(accredited certification bodies meet the requirements of ISO/IEC 17065)
The following are several examples of areas of certification for each of the above types of certification.
Management system certification
- Quality management systems (ISO 9001).
- Environmental management systems (ISO 14001).
- Energy management systems (ISO 50001).
- Occupational health and safety management systems (ISO 45001).
- Food safety management systems (ISO 22000, Food Standard IFS or Marine Stewardship Council MSC, etc.).
- Information technology management systems (ISO/IEC 20000).
- Information security management systems (ISO/IEC 27001).
Certification of persons
- Occupational safety specialists (Order on prevention of accidents, OPA)
- Fire protection specialists (AEAI directives)
- Non-destructive testing personnel (SN EN ISO 9712)
- Welders and Brazers (various standards)
Certification of products, processes and services
- Organic agricultural products and resulting food (Order on organic agriculture, Bio Suisse respectively)
- Food and animal feeds (Global Standard for Food Safety (BRC), International Food Standard (IFS), GlobalGAP, IP-Suisse, etc.)
- Personal protective equipment (Directive 89/686/EEC)
- Type-examination procedure in the mechanical engineering sector (Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC)
- Type-examination procedure in the low-voltage electrical equipment sector (Directive 2006/95/EC)
- Building products for various sectors (Order on building products, OPCo)
- Cooking equipment, catering equipment, hot water appliances, washing machines, heating equipment, etc. (various European standards)
- Protective devices and systems intended to be used in explosive atmospheres (RS 734.6 OSPEX)
The corresponding basic norms or standards are specified above in brackets (when such a normative base exists). A current version of these standards can be obtained from the Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) for a fee.
Source: Swiss Accreditation Service SAS