Redline Versions of Standards

To accommodate the needs of adapting markets, there are rules that require standards to be reviewed and revised after a set period of time has passed since the most recent release. For example, in 2015 we have seen the revision of the standards ISO 9001: Quality Management Systems – Requirements, ISO 9000: Quality Management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary, and ISO 14001: Environmental Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use, all of which are updates of past versions of the same standards. For those who haven’t used these standards in the past, acquiring the latest edition makes it easy to adhere to the top knowledge of the standard’s subject. For those who own the outdated versions, redline versions clearly identify the changes from the previous version to simplify the transition.

The “redline” in Redline Standards refers to the use of red lines to cross out anything that was removed from the previous version. Along with adding these red lines in standards, the Redline Versions clearly mark any additions by highlighting the text in green. Similarly, any added or removed graphics are marked with either green or red, respectively. Any heading numbers that have been modified are highlighted in yellow in the Table of Contents.

The figure below is positioned at the beginning of Redline standards and is a key visually demonstrating how these changes appear throughout the documents. It was taken from ISO 9001:2015 Plus Redline.

It is important to see exactly how a standard has been altered for an organization to properly implement any changes. For example, ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 9000:2015 have been revised so that they are applicable to almost any organization. As we have previously discussed, these revisions advise that leadership take a more active role in an organization. Because of this, the section formerly titled “Management Responsibility” is now called “Leadership”. It focuses more on commitment from leadership, giving them a vital role in implementation of the quality management system and guaranteeing its success.

The changes in ISO 14001:2015 are incredibly important because of the changing nature of the subject in which it is based. The latest update of this standard takes into account the burgeoning knowledge of the environment that has been generated since the prior revision in 2004. Being able to identify certain concepts that are no longer applicable is essential for proper environmental management. For example, ISO 14001:2015 Plus Redline marks the removal of the concept of an auditor, which in the past would determine the appropriate need for an environmental management system. However, now the standard makes it clear that this issue is far too serious to be handled in this way. In fact, the content overall has been altered to reflect the idea of urgency in environmental protection, which can be clearly seen through the Redline version.

While the method of highlighting modified heading numbers in the Table of Contents might seem unnecessary, it can be a useful tool in understanding the revisions. ISO 9001:2015 has many changes in different sections of the standard, including deletions and moves. For example, parts 6.1 and 6.2 have merged in the new version, altering the entire layout of 6, which has been changed from “Resource Management” to “Planning”. Knowing where exactly all of these changes occurred by looking at the heading numbers allows anyone to grasp every change.

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