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ISMA Members Break New Ground on ISO 17712:2013

22 Oct 2012

The International Seal Manufacturers Association (ISMA) announced today the publication of Tamper Evidence Quality Management Processes For Conformance with ISO 17712:2013 Clause 6, An Industry Best Practices Guideline.

The new version of ISO International Standard 17712, Freight containers - Mechanical seals, published in May 2013, contains a significant change in Clause 6, Evidence of tampering. These new requirements go into effect 15 May 2014. The impact on international commerce could be significant because of the way regulators, major shippers, carriers, and others use ISO 17712: virtually all maritime containers will require high security barrier seals certified by accredited third parties to conform to the new requirements.

The new Best Practices Guideline offers a template for a seal manufacturer’s Clause 6 evidence of tampering conformance process per ISO 17712:2013. Members of an ISMA working group drafted this document in response to new requirements regarding evidence of tampering established in ISO 17712:2013.

Mette Jordan of Mega Fortris, ISMA’s Chairperson, has said “The new Clause 6 requires careful thought and innovation by manufacturers to get it right the first time. The transition window is tight. Security seal users need to be confident their suppliers can implement and be certified to have a timely quality management system in response to 17712:2013’s novel requirement.”

“ISMA’s leaders,” Jordan continued, “believe collaboration is the best path to a robust roadmap for Tamper Evident Quality Management Processes. ISMA is the only professional association of reputable security seal manufacturers and our members have technical staff well versed in ISO Quality Management Systems, intimately familiar with the development and goals of ISO 17712, expert in seal design and manufacture, and widely respected in the industry for integrity and competence. No other group, in my opinion, could do this task as well or as quickly. To assure the efficacy and quality of the guideline, ISMA members will test the process themselves for the first Clause 6 certification cycle.”

If a manufacturer adapts and implements this process in accordance with its own ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems, then the result should be more effective “H” High Security barrier seals offered for sale to its customers. Further, the substance and documentation of the process should facilitate the approval or ‘sign off’ by the manufacturer’s ISO 17020-accredited independent inspector, earning the certificate or statement of conformance required by Clause 6 of ISO 17712.

Christian Wenk of American Castings and Manufacturing, a member of ISMA’s executive committee as well as the Clause 6 working group, said “At a minimum, this document can facilitate communication between a manufacturer and its ISO 9001 auditors to smooth the inspection and approval process.”

Wenk also mentioned “reports from the field” that important stakeholders in the international cargo shipping community seem unaware of the ISO 17712 shift that is due in May 2014. Since regulatory requirements in North America, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere require use of 17712-compliant High Security “H” seals, Wenk recommends that seal users educate themselves on the changes.

A short paper on ISMA’s website explains the changes, how to conform to them, what users should look for, and when users should be purchasing newly compliant seals. It also includes reminders on what users should do before May 15, 2014. The title is “ISO Publishes New Edition of ISO 17712, The 2013 Edition replaces 2010.”

Seal users should be alert. Qualifying for Clause 6 compliance in a professional manner is a careful process, taking time to implement, then educate the ISO 17020-accredited third party inspectors, and then be inspected and certified. Because of this, buyers should treat early claims of compliance with skepticism.

ISMA recommends that buyers acquire quality security seals from quality manufacturers. The simplest way to do that is to specify suppliers that are members of ISMA!

The International Seal Manufacturers Association is the only industry voice that speaks for reputable manufacturers of high quality security seals. For more information visit www.ismasecurity.com or contact ISMA’s Chair, Mette Jordan, at mette.jordan@megafortris.com.

For more information about ISO 17712, contact Mike Wolfe at NoRiver@att.net who served as Project Editor for ISO 17712.

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