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What is Clause 7?

Your management system is there to improve your business, so how does clause 7 help support your business?

In this article, Auditor Training Online's director and triple certified real-world auditor, Jackie Stapleton sits down and explains the importance of Clause 7 to any Management Systems

No more guessing or confusion! 


How does Clause 7 support your Management System?

Clause 7 refers to Support, so when I see this it helps me to understand that any requirement that falls under this clause is about supporting what you have planned so that when you do implement (which is done in the next clause – clause 8 Operations) then you have the support and resources necessary to make it a success and give us the best chance of achieving what we set out to do.

The common clauses in Clause 7 across each of the standards for quality, environment, and OH&S are:

  • > Clause 7.1 Resources
  • > Clause 7.2 Competence
  • > Clause 7.3 Awareness
  • > Clause 7.4 Communication, and finally
  • > Clause 7.5 Documented information

So, let’s cover Clause 7.1 first, shall we? While I say that clause 7.1 Resources is common across all Standards – it’s important to note that ISO 9001 Quality does have some additional or unique sub-clauses that fall under 7.1.

The common and overarching intent of Clause 7.1 Resources is about the organization providing sufficient resources (humans, tools, equipment, and so on) to establish, maintain and improve the management systems.

The unique elements for quality are:

  • > That clause 7.1.2, 7.1.3, and 7.1.4 go into more specifics regarding these resources and separate the people, infrastructure, and work environment.
  • > Then ISO 9001 includes clause 7.1.5 Monitoring and measuring resources, with some good detailed information in regarding equipment calibration. If you have an Integrated Management System you can refer to clause for all of your systems as it is far more detailed in 9001 than it is in the other Standards
  • > Then the final unique sub-clause in 9001 is 7.1.6 Organizational knowledge which is all about sharing knowledge and experience within the business.

Now that we’ve covered these unique clauses, let’s get back to the common clauses for all Standards.

Clause 7.2 Competence is all about the organization determining what competence requirements are needed for the management system requirements and ensuring you have evidence to demonstrate this has been achieved.

Clause 7.3 Awareness is all about ensuring that the people working for you and under your control are aware of a few specific areas of the management system. This can be the policy, objectives, how they contribute to the system, and the associated benefits, as well as what the consequences are if you don't follow the system. OH&S and Environment also throw in some additional areas that workers should be aware of like significant environmental aspects, incidents as well as hazards and risks.

Then clause 7.4 Communication covers communication internally or within the business, as well as communication requirements externally. OH&S and environment split these up really well.

Then finally clause 7.5 Documented information is all about what documented information is required across the entire management system as well as establishing processes for creating, updating, and control of documented information. The requirements are very much the same across all of the Standards for this sub-clause.

I do hope that this gives you a high-level idea of what clause 7’s intent is without too many nitty-gritty details.