| Conditions for Handling Non-Conformities
The standard deadline to respond to Non-conformities (NCs) is a max of 90 days. Within this timeframe the following is expected to be performed by the organization:
- Immediate action(s) to eliminate the non-conforming situation (if relevant for the NC)
- Root cause analysis to identify corrective actions to prevent recurrence of the NC
- Implement corrective actions and verify the effectiveness of action(s)
- Complete a non-conformance report and submit to the audit team Leader with relevant supporting documentation as evidence (when applicable)
- Major NCs: Evidence of root cause analysis and effectively implemented corrections and corrective actions shall be provided.
- Minor NCs: Preferred and normal status is the same as for Major NCs. However, the audit team leader may also accept a plan for implementing identified corrective actions. The implementation of planned actions will at latest be verified during next audit.
Where the certificate expires within the 90 day period a shorter deadline will be set to ensure proper follow-up and renewal of the certificate within the expiry date. This is to provide for the continual validity of certification. If the expiry date is exceeded without the process being finalised, the current certificate is not allowed to be extended and will be regarded suspended until renewal of the certificate.
There is no obligation to investigate or respond formally to an Observation or Opportunity for Improvement. However to support an effective certification process it is recommended that Observations are also considered and responded to by the Organisation.
A Certification body will normally perform an on-site follow-up when Major NCs are issued. For Minor NCs follow-up is normally performed as a desk review based on received documentation. Insufficient responses to NCs or lack of corrective actions may be grounds for suspension or withdrawal of a certificate.