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How does Clause 6 Planning fit into an Integrated Management System?

Let's start planning how to meet the requirements for Clause 6 in your management systems!

In this article, Auditor Training Online's director and triple certified real-world auditor, Jackie Stapleton sits down and explains the importance of Clause 6 to any management systems.

No more guessing or confusion! 


What is clause 6 Planning talking about in general? This video is more about the broad intent or context of clause 6 – and this is relevant to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 – in fact, it could be relevant to other ISO standards too, as they all follow the same Structure.

Clause 6 refers to Planning so that in itself helps us to understand that the output from the requirements in clause 6 is all about setting our system up and giving us some direction to follow.

The common clauses in clause 6 across each of the standards for quality, environment, and OH&S are:

> Clause 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities, and

> Clause 6.2 Objectives and planning to achieve them

I love clause 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities – the general requirements across all. I love it because this is about actually taking action to address the risks and opportunities that you have identified for the business as a whole and for your activities, products, and services. This clause is all about doing something about it. It’s one thing to identify the risks and opportunities but the next step is ‘What are you going to do about it’ which is what this clause addresses.

Then the other common clause is 6.2 objectives and planning to achieve them. These requirements are very common across all 3 standards. Simply establish your quality, environment, or OH&S objectives based on your policy statement and intent, risks identified, and be sure to make them measurable. Then plan on how you will achieve them by planning what will be done, what resources will be required, who will be responsible, when it will be completed by and how the results will be evaluated.

Now, those two clauses are the common clauses in clause 6. ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 have a couple of unique clauses that you will not find in ISO 9001.

Both ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 have a unique clause - clause 6.1.2. In ISO 14001 this is called Environmental aspects and in ISO 45001 this is clause is called Hazard identification and assessment of risks and opportunities.

These are obviously very specific to environmental management systems and OH&S management systems. And both of these clauses become a key driver in the identification of risks and what the system is built on or around.

ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 have one more unique clause, which is clause 6.1.3. In ISO 14001 this is called Compliance obligations and in ISO 45001 this is called Determination of legal requirements and other requirements. Both clauses are about legal requirements and other requirements and determining what is applicable to the activities, products, and services and then how they apply to what you do.

I do hope that this gives you a high-level idea of what clause 6’s intent is without too many nitty-gritty details.