The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has been active since its creation in 1947 in the elaboration of technical standards with the aim of facilitating global trade. Technical and management system standards have proven popular and have helped to standardise a vast array of products.
More recently, ISO has moved into work areas relating to social and labour matters. In 2010, ISO published a Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility (ISO 26000). This represents a shift in ISO's place in global standard setting, and requires IOE members to reconsider their representation on national ISO committees in order to broaden the knowledge of ISO representatives beyond the purely technical. Where members are not involved in their national standards body, they are encouraged to explore ways in which they can participate. Given ISO's working methods, national ISO committees play a key role in approving items for standard setting.
The IOE will continue to monitor ISO work item proposals for relevance to its labour and social policy mandate, and, as it did in the development of ISO 26000, will engage as necessary. Currently, the IOE is involved in the development of ISO 45001, which will aim to provide requirements for an effective OH&S management system.