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COVID-19 BUSINESS UPDATES

Special regulations amidst COVID-19

The health and safety of customers, auditors and employees is a top priority for TÜV SÜD PSB. This is why we take the development of the corona virus (COVID-19) very seriously. We have set up a prevention team that continuously develops measures and implements them according to the current state of affairs and official requirements.

Taking into account the recommendations of the Ministry of Health (MOH) as well as competent authorities and accreditors, certification processes at TÜV SÜD PSB will continue to be maintained. We will support our certified companies and help them cope with this crisis in the best possible way.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN AT PRESENT FOR AN ONGOING CERTIFICATION PROCESS? 

Various accreditation bodies and standard owners are offering special provisions to allow for the present coronavirus emergency. The links below provide a summary of the key information sources. 

In justified cases, as is the current coronavirus emergency, special provisions may be applied outside the regular certification cycle for upcoming audits. Various approaches are possible depending on the type of audit.

If you have detailed questions, please email your enquiries here.

  • Special provisions (according to IAF ID 3: 2011 and TÜV SÜD PSB regulations)

    "INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION FORUM IAF“ AND "TÜV SÜD PSB PTE LTD (SAC - SINGAPORE ACCREDITATION COUNCIL) ACCREDITED CERTIFICATION SCHEMES"

    (as at 28/03/2020, errors and omissions excepted)

    CERTIFICATION AUDIT (AUDIT STAGES 1 AND 2)

    SAC

    The recommendation is to postpone initial certification activities for the period of the travel ban or restriction on visit. If justification had been made to perform the stage 1 audit offsite (if feasible), the stage 1 audit may proceed.

    TÜV SÜD PSB Pte Ltd

    If performance of an audit is not possible because of the coronavirus emergency, the on-site audit can be postponed to a later date (at the customer’s request). If a stage 1 audit has already been performed, the stage 2 audit may be postponed for another six months beyond the known six-month period, so that a maximum time interval of 12 months between the stage 1 and the stage 2 audit may be possible. However, in this case, parts of a certification audit can also be carried out remotely, i.e. using digital information and and communication technologies (ICT), provided that this is technically justifiable.

     

    FIRST SURVEILLANCE AUDIT

    SAC

    Normally, the date of the first surveillance audit following initial certification shall not be more than 12 months from the certification decision date (ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015, 9.1.3.3). However, for this situation, providing that sufficient evidence have been collected to provide confidence that the certified management system is effective, consideration may be given to postpone the first surveillance for a period not normally exceeding 6 months (18 months from date of award). Otherwise, the certificate has to be suspended or the scope reduced.

    TÜV SÜD PSB Pte Ltd

    Typically, the first surveillance audit following on a certification audit must always be performed on site within 12 months of the certification decision. Where an on-site audit is impossible based on the current coronavirus emergency, a remote audit shall be performed as an interim measure before the end of the 12-month period.

     

    WHAT IS A REMOTE AUDIT?

    In a remote audit, part of the audit (or in certain cases the entire audit) is performed remotely without the physical presence of TÜV SÜD auditors on site. The auditor uses digital information and communication methods such as video-conferencing. Documents can also be exchanged in advance of an audit or sent out on completion of a corrective action.

    Parts of an audit or even complete audits can be carried out remotely if all contents and processes essential for the audit can be audited in this way to a reasonable degree of technical detail. Particularly relevant factors here are operational activities, products and services, as well as the associated risks. While leadership and management processes can usually be audited remotely without any problems, core processes must be checked to establish whether a remote audit can provide sufficient depth of evidence from a technical point of view. This has to be decided on a case-by-case basis and is specific to the company. Remote auditing of management reviews, internal audits, spot checks for corrective and preventive actions (especially with regard to nonconformities from previous TÜV SÜD audits and internal audits) is usually unproblematic.

    After the review of the remote audit by the certification body and a positive decision, a confirmation of the effectiveness of the certified management system can be issued. Unless a complete remote audit has taken place, the remainder of the calculated on-site audit time must then be performed on site within four months after the actual due date.

    Please note that remote audits can only be performed if the company to be audited has the required technical infrastructure, including a stable Internet connection or the possibility for video- and audio-conferencing (Skype etc.). 

    Read more in our factsheet (PDF) "Customer Information Remote Auditing", English

     

    RE-CERTIFICATION AUDIT

    SAC

    Normally the re-certification audit must be completed and the re-certification decision made prior to expiration to avoid loss of certification. However, for this situation, providing that sufficient evidence have been collected to provide confidence that the certified management system is effective, consideration may be given to extend the certification for a period not normally exceeding 6 month beyond the original expiry date. Where feasible, remote audit for some critical clauses/process should at least be conducted prior to the expiry date. The on-site re-certification for the remaining clauses/processes should be carried out within this permissible extended period. Otherwise, a new initial audit should be performed. If the re-certification assessment cannot be undertaken within 6 months, the certificate should be suspended and a new initial assessment will be required.

    TÜV SÜD PSB Pte Ltd

    A re-certification audit must always be performed and completed before expiry of the previous certificate’s validity. Where an on-site audit is impossible because of the coronavirus emergency, a remote audit shall be performed as an interim measure.

    If the certification decision is positive (after such a remote audit) a new certificate with a further three-year period of validity will be issued. To maintain the validity of this certificate, an on-site audit covering the remaining calculated on-site audit time, including the certification decision, must be performed within six months after the expiry of the validity of the previous certificate. In certain cases a full remote audit may also be possible.

    If, due to the current coronavirus emergency, neither an on-site nor a remote audit can be carried out because, for example, a company has completely ceased operations, a successful certificate with a limited validity of one year can be issued. To make use of this option, the organisation must present solid evidence of a stable management-system implementation, maintenance and effectiveness plus documented and substantiated justification of why audit performance is not feasible. In this case, the re-certification audit must be carried out within six months. Where justifiable, the re-certification audit can also be performed as a remote audit.

     

    SUBSEQUENT SURVEILLANCE AUDITS

    SAC

    There may be specific circumstances by which a CB can justify adjusting the timing of a subsequent surveillance audit. If an organisation has to shut down completely for a limited period (less than 6 months), it would be reasonable for a CB to postpone an audit that had been scheduled to occur during the shutdown until the organisation resumes operations. The organisation should inform the CB when operations resume so that the CB can conduct the audit promptly.  

    Wherever possible the surveillance must take place within the current certification year.  Subsequent surveillance activities should continue in line with the original programme. 
     
    If on-site surveillance audit is not possible within 6 months from audit’s due date, a surveillance audit (partially or fully) can be conducted via remote auditing. The auditor(s) should focus on the process and relative clauses that can be effectively audited as part of a remote audit. If any process/clauses cannot be audited, the auditor(s) will update the 3-year audit programme to have these processes and clauses covered at the next audit. The CB shall ensure that there is additional time allocated to the subsequent audit to cover these processes/clauses. 

    TÜV SÜD PSB Pte Ltd

    (with the exception of the first surveillance audit above)

    Because of the coronavirus pandemic, any surveillance audit due in 2020 can be postponed to any date in 2020 (latest audit date at the end of 2020). The rule that there must be an interval of at least nine months between the surveillance and re-certification audits has been suspended for the time being. The remote audit (see above “What is a remote audit?”) option is also available for surveillance audits.

     
  • Special arrangements (according to IATF)

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS (ACCORDING TO IATF) "IATF 16949 AND ALL VDA 6.X STANDARDS."

    (as at 19/03/2020, errors and omissions excepted)

    In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which affects certification and auditing activities worldwide, IATF has likewise approved global waivers in justified cases "FINAL-IATF-Measures-Coronavirus-Pandemic-COVID-19-Initial-Release_27Mar2020". The current statuses of the individual waivers, measures and periods are outlined in the document below. Please note that remote audits continue to be impermissible for IATF Standards.

    For detailed questions, please contact your auditor or account manager.

    Latest News IATF https://www.iatfglobaloversight.org/

     
  • Special arrangement (according to IAQG)

    AEROSPACE "EN 91XX"

    (as at 19/03/2020, errors and omissions excepted)

    In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which is affecting certification and auditing activities worldwide, in justified cases IAQG also accepts special provisions at global level (“Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting ABs, CBs and Certified Organizations - Novel Coronavirus - COVID-19”)

    If you have detailed questions, please ask your auditor or account Manager.

    Management of Extraordinary Events or Circumstances Affecting ABs, CBs and Certified Organizations - Novel Coronavirus - COVID-19
    https://oasishelp.iaqg.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020-03-IAQG-OPMT-Notice-for-COVID-19.pdf?1584616205537

    IAQG News
    https://iaqg.org/

     
  • Special provisions (FSC®/PEFC)

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS (FSC®/PEFC)

    (as at 19/03/2020, errors and omissions excepted)

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS FSC® (FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL)

    The FSC once again refined its existing special provisions for CBs regarding on-site audits (checks) during the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions associated therewith. Following risk assessment, FSC auditors can either postpone surveillance audits or perform them as “desk audits”. The special provisions also permit extension of certificates due to expire for up to one year (12 months). 

    PSU Derogation FSC-DER-2020-001

    FSC News

     

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS PEFC

    Due to the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, travel and medical restrictions are affecting auditing activities. In order to provide some flexibility for certification bodies and certified companies affected by the disease, PEFC is issuing the “COVID-19: Guidance for certification bodies and certified companies”. This guidance sets forth provisions for permitting the implementation of remote audits due to the consequences of travel restrictions. In special cases extension of certificate validity may also be possible. The guidance is based on IAF documents and the recently revised PEFC Requirements for Certification Bodies (PEFC ST 2003:2020).

    If you have detailed questions, please ask your auditor or account manager.

    COVID 19: Guidance for certification bodies and certified companies

    PEFC News
    https://pefc.org/news/covid-19-guidance-for-certification-bodies-and-certified-companies


    https://pefc.org/news

     
  • Special provisions in the food & feed sector

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS IN THE FOOD & FEED SECTOR "IFS, BRCGS, FSSC 22000 & CO."

    (as at 27/03/2020, errors and omissions excepted)

    In the food and feed sector, the individual standard owners offer various approaches to special provisions based on the coronavirus emergency. We have summarised the current status of information provided by IFS, BRCGS and FSSC 22000 here. If you have questions about your certification according to another food/feed standard, please contact us directly.

    If you have any questions, you can contact your auditor, customer service representative or the following email address here.

      

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS IFS (INTERNATIONAL FEATURED STANDARDS)

    IFS is continuously monitoring the situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and discussing it in our IFS Board, International Technical Committee and National Working Groups, in which all stakeholders (retail, suppliers and certification bodies) are represented. In the “Official statement with regard to Coronavirus COVID-19 and IFS certificates” (PDF), IFS informs about the policy and measures that IFS has agreed upon with regard to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    The most important issues are summarised below (for a more detailed explanation see PDF below):

    • Due to precautionary measures imposed by local governments, audits may not be able to take place. In this case existing IFS certificates will remain valid until the end of their term and then lose their regular validity.
    • IFS appeals to both retailers and their suppliers to contact each other and find bilateral solutions so that supplier contracts can be maintained.
    • IFS prefers a case-by-case assessment of the situation and has chosen not to give a general extension of certificate validity of up to six months.
    • Unlike other standards, IFS does not impose penalties to companies which are not able to renew IFS Certificates in due time due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
    • If IFS certificates could not be renewed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), IFS will flag these cases in the database.  

    Links:

    IFS Update 26.03.2020

    IFS: Official statement in regards to coronavirus COVID-19 and IFS certificates

    IFS English

     

    SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT BRCGS (BRC GLOBAL STANDARDS)

    Owing to the impacts of the current coronavirus emergency, some BRCGS audits may have to be managed differently in the short term. Where certificates are likely to expire as the result of an audit postponement, BRCGS have issued new guidance to certification bodies (“BRC072 BRCGS Audits impacted by Covid-19”) allowing for certificates to be issued following a remote ‘virtual’ audit of the sites in accordance with International Accreditation Forum (IAF) procedures.

    Links:

    BRC072 BRCGS Audits impacted by Covid-19 

    BRCGS News

     

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS FSSC 22000

    The current coronavirus crisis may impact on the ability to complete scheduled audits, thus potentially affecting the FSSC 22000 certification status of organisations. FSSC 22000 has therefore decided to publish rules for cases impacted by the coronavirus. In all cases, the certification body shall have documented procedures in place and keep records of the activities set forth in the PDF specified below (“FSSC 22000 position in relation to novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” as required under FSSC 22000 Scheme version 5, Section 5.10 of Part 3 Requirements for the Certification Process.

    The most important issues are summarised below (for a more detailed explanation see PDF below):

    • The certification body shall conduct a risk assessment (specific to the relevant company) for all audit postponements.
    • Surveillance audits can be postponed by a maximum period of 6 months within a calendar year.
    • Re-certification audits: In case of certificate expiry, the validity of the certificate may be extended by up to a maximum of 6 months. 

    Links:

    FSSC 22000 FAQ / Q&A online

     

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS ISO 22000

    • See above: "Special provisions (according to IAF ID 3:2011 and SAC regulations)"

     

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS QS

    In view of the current spread of the coronavirus, QS informs that upcoming audit dates can be postponed in consultation with the responsible certification body. There will be no general decision for audit postponement. Instead, certification bodies will take these decisions based on the respective situation on site (e.g. quarantine). For more information visit:

    Links:

    Coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) – Informationen zur Durchführung von QS -Audits

    Aktuelles von QS

     

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS FAMI-QS

    Following extensive evaluation of the situation with regard to the coronavirus, the following information on special provisions, “Management of Extraordinary Events COVID-19”, was published.

    Links:

    Management of Extraordinary Events COVID-19

    More information on FAMI-QS

     

    SPECIAL PROVISIONS GMP+

    The coronavirus is impacting on audits performed by certification bodies. Given this, difficulties in the planning and conducting of GMP+ audits must be expected. This means audit frequency may be affected and not comply with the GMP+ requirements. The coronavirus is therefore designated an extraordinary event by GMP+ International. GMP+ has approved various special provisions and exceptions that have been recently extended. These can be found in the coronavirus news section of GMP+.

    Links:

    https://www.gmpplus.org/en/news/posts/2020/march/coronavirus/

    https://www.gmpplus.org/en/news/posts/2020/march/coronavirus-impacting-gmpplus-audits/

     

 

In case of questions, please contact us directly via email here.

We will respond to your enquiry as quickly as possible.

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