What happens during certification: an introductory description

1. Certification areas

FORCE Certification A/S is accredited by DANAK, the Danish Accreditation and Metrology Fund (a member of European Accreditation, or EA) to perform certifications in accordance with:

  • DS/EN ISO 9001 and exec. order on elevators (reg. no. 5008)
  • DS/EN ISO 14001 and exec. order on mandatory energy audits at large businesses (reg. no. 6005)
  • DS/EN ISO 45001 and exec. order on recognised occupational health and safety certifications achieved via DS/ISO 45001 (“crowned smiley”) (reg. no. 6504)
  • DS/EN ISO 22000 (reg. no. 5008)
  • FSSC 22000 (reg. no. 5008)
  • DS/EN ISO 50001 and exec. order on energy efficiency programmes for excess heat (reg. no. 6005)
  • Pressure equipment directive (PED), module H (reg. no. 5008)
  • Exec. order 1977 on the use of pressurised equipment (reg. no. 5008).

FORCE Certification has been granted authorisation to conduct certification in accordance with European directives; see About FORCE Certification A/S.
The foundation of FORCE Certification’s system and process certification work is the Ministry of Industry, Business, and Financial Affairs’ law on business support activities and associated executive orders, and in particular, the requirements of DS/EN ISO/IEC 17021.

The English text of these standards serves as the basis for the certification processes.

2. Information and how to apply

Businesses interested in certification should note that certifications must adhere to the requirements specified in the applicable standards, accreditation requirements, and guidelines at all times. When these requirements change, businesses must implement the changes by the deadline established in the standard or guideline in order to maintain their certifications.

These kinds of changes can also require changes to be made to a concluded certification agreement.

We at FORCE Certification A/S will inform businesses of these changes as soon as we become aware of them.

2.1 Applying for certification

Using such information as the scope of the certification and the legal requirements that the business is subject to, FORCE Certification A/S provides a quote for certification, including oversight visits, for approval. Once signed, this document becomes the formal certification agreement. It includes FORCE Certification’s standard terms, as well as ABC-Sys, our special provisions for system certification. FORCE Certification A/S appoints an auditing team comprising staff approved by FORCE Certification A/S, taking into consideration the required skills and capabilities, as well as any special circumstances (e.g., impartiality) that apply to the certification job in question. Additionally, observers (internal auditors or auditors in training) from FORCE Certification A/S may also participate. The appointed team is then presented to the business, which may raise justified objections against the team’s composition.

For DANAK-accredited certification, businesses should note that upon request from DANAK, FORCE Certification A/S is obligated to provide DANAK all information necessary for it to oversee the accreditation, including information regarding pricing and hourly rates, and their underlying calculations.
Furthermore, FORCE Certification A/S is obligated to receive oversight visits from DANAK; businesses must accept the possibility that such an oversight visit may include FORCE Certification’s accredited on-site activities – that is, participation in auditing, etc. at the business.

2.2 Regulatory requirements

During the certification process, FORCE Certification A/S will ensure that prior to the Phase 2 visit (see below), businesses obtain information from relevant government agencies regarding any agreements and outstanding issues that could be relevant to the certification process.

During the Phase 2 visit, businesses must be prepared to present documents regarding any agreements, authorisations, approvals, obligations, prohibitions, oversight reports, and outstanding issues relevant to the certification process.

3. Initial certification

The certification process is typically conducted in two phases: Phase 1 and Phase 2.

3.1 Phase 1: Pre-audit

The purpose of Phase 1 is to:

  • determine the organisational and physical scope of the management system
  • ensure that the company has designed its management system in accordance with applicable requirements, including requirements regarding management system documentation
  • establish a basis to plan and execute Phase 2

Phase 1 includes a review of the documentation for the system and a visit to the business. In certain cases, it may be possible to conduct Phase 1 without a visit to the business.

After the Phase 1 visit, the business receives a report that lists any problem areas and areas for improvement. Corrections / corrective action must be processed and closed by the company before the Phase 2 visit.

A reasonable amount of time before the Phase 2 visit, the business receives a plan for how the Phase 2 visit will proceed.

3.2 Phase 2: Certification audit

The purpose of the Phase 2 certification audit is to determine:

  • whether the company’s management system has been implemented in accordance with the requirements
  • whether the company’s implementation of its management system is effective
  • whether the company’s management system is able to enforce the company’s policies and achieve targets

The business is required to:

  • provide the auditing team with information that will allow it to determine whether the company’s
    management system has been documented in accordance with requirements
  • grant the auditing team access to facilities, staff, and records to allow the team to verify that the company’s system has been implemented and maintained
  • co-operate with the auditing team to address deviations.

Auditing visits are conducted in accordance with FORCE Certification A/S’s procedures, and include the following elements:

  • an introductory meeting with company executives to confirm the scope of the
    certification, clarify the reporting methodology, and provide general information regarding the Phase 2 process. The meeting may include a short
    tour of the company’s premises, if no tour was previously conducted. The guides who will accompany the auditors also participate in this meeting.
  • auditing of the company’s processes through interviews with managers and employees
  • a concluding meeting during which the results of the audit are presented to the company’s executives

During the concluding meeting, the lead auditor:

  • presents the results of the audit, including positive observations, any deviations observed, and
    areas for improvement, with references to requirements
  • discusses with company representatives any corrections / corrective action needed
  • proposes a timeline for addressing any deviations

3.3 Deviations and problem areas

During the concluding meeting, the company will receive documentation for any deviations or problem areas identified.

Documentation for the company’s handling of identified deviations/problem areas should be sent to FORCE Certification A/S within the established time frame, which is not to exceed 90 days.

In some circumstances, FORCE Certification A/S may conduct follow-up visits to the company’s location(s) in order to verify the implementation of corrections/corrective action.

FORCE Certification A/S verifies corrections/corrective action as follows:

  • Phase 1 visit: Verification before Phase 2 audit
  • Phase 2 visit: Verification before whole-case verification and certification
  • Oversight visits: Verification within 90 days
  • Re-certification audit: Verification before whole-case verification and certification

Corrections and corrective action must be implemented and verified within 90 days after FORCE Certification notifies the company of a deviation or problem area.

When notifying a company of a large or critical deviation, FORCE Certification will assess whether the company can maintain its certification status during the period in which the deviation(s) are being addressed.

If verification is not possible within 90 days, FORCE Certification reserves the right to conduct a new assessment, which may include a visit to the company’s premises.

3.4 Certificate issuance

Once the Phase 2 visit has been conducted and the company has communicated the action it took in response to deviations and observations, if applicable, the lead auditor will recommend to the certification manager that FORCE Certification A/S issue a certificate. Once the certification manager’s verification is complete, the company is issued its certificate.

The scope of certification, expiration date, and other information are included on the certificate.

3.5 The crowned green smiley

A valid occupational health and safety certificate under ISO 45001:2018 and the executive order on recognised occupational health and safety certificates achieved under DS/ISO 45001 subject to accreditation affords its holder the opportunity to receive the “crowned smiley” mark on the website of the Danish Working Environment Authority.

Should a customer be interested in this mark, FORCE Certification A/S can furnish the necessary information regarding certification status to the Danish Working Environment Authority. This will be indicated in the certification agreement.

3.6 The company’s system documentation

The company’s system documentation is assessed during the Phase 1 and Phase 2 visits.

FORCE Certification A/S may request that this documentation be sent before the visits.

Companies may provide system documentation on paper, via access to a corporate intranet, or in another format.

Storing and updating system documentation in accordance with applicable requirements (e.g., PED, archiving for 10 years) is the company’s responsibility.

An overview of outdated system documents must be continuously maintained subject to the company’s document management system.

3.7 Multiple sites

FORCE Certification A/S offers multi-site certification with visits that are reduced in scope.

To be eligible for multi-site certification:

  • the company’s activities must be managed under a single management system that covers multiple facilities of the same type
  • the company’s management system must be centrally administered and audited
  • the company’s management system must be subject to central management evaluation
  • all facilities must be audited in accordance with an internal auditing procedure

The scope of visits is determined according to recognised guidelines (IAF MD 1:2018), which include the following:

  • visit sites are selected randomly from among previously unvisited sites
  • the headquarters/main office always receives a visit
  • for “crowned smiley” occupational health and safety certification: all P numbers must be visited at least once within 2 certification periods (6 years).

Any deviations or observations recorded at one site must be addressed at all affected sites within the scope of the certification.

In the case of a multi-site certification agreement valid for 3 years, if the company decides to exclude one or more sites (e.g., because they may be unable to meet certification requirements) after the Phase 2 visit, the certification agreement is terminated. Thereafter, a new certification agreement can be concluded to reflect the change in scope, resulting in a new certification process.

4. Maintaining certification

4.1 Oversight visits

For a certificate to remain valid, the company must at all times operate in accordance with its policies, system documentation, system requirements, contractual obligations, and any applicable legal determinations. FORCE Certification A/S will continue to oversee compliance through oversight visits to the company, which will occur at least once per year.

These visits will be conducted according to an audit plan developed by the lead auditor. The purpose of the plan is to ensure that the elements and processes that comprise the management system are evaluated at least once during the period of validity. The plan also ensures that locations covered by the certificate are visited as provided for in the basis for certification and in accordance with accreditation requirements. Further details depend on the particular rules that FORCE Certification A/S has developed for the certification standard in question.

The dates and times of oversight visits are arranged between FORCE Certification A/S and the business. Visits are conducted according to a plan that incorporates elements of the overall requirement basis.

In the event that FORCE Certification A/S becomes aware of situations requiring additional oversight visits, these visits may be conducted on short notice.

4.2 Certificate renewal: recertification

Certificates are valid for 3 years, provided that oversight visits are conducted annually.

At the time of renewal, a new certification agreement is concluded, valid for a new 3-year period.

4.3 Changes impacting certification

Should a company wish to make significant changes to its management systems while it holds a valid certificate, details of the planned changes must be sent to FORCE Certification A/S as soon as possible.

Significant changes include changes affecting the following:

  • Legal, commercial, or organisational status or ownership
  • The organisation and its management (e.g., replacing executives, decision-makers, or key technical personnel)
  • Staffing volume
  • Contact addresses and addresses covered by certification, including physical facilities
  • Scope of applicability for tasks within the certified management system
  • Production processes
  • Product types and categories

The lead auditor will assess whether these changes could impact the validity of the certificate, and whether the changes require assessment via an extraordinary follow-up visit to the company.

Minor system changes, such as updates to procedures, formulae, references, etc. can be evaluated during the first oversight visit following their implementation.

4.4. Audit visits on short notice

There may be a need to conduct an audit visit on short notice in the following situations:

  • Following up on corrections/corrective action
  • Following up on suspended certifications
  • Investigating complaints
  • Changes to the certificate’s scope of applicability

Audit visits are conducted according to an audit agenda sent to the business before the visit.

The cost of such a visit is determined by any associated expenses and the hourly rate indicated in the applicable pricing agreement.

4.5 Unannounced audit visits

Unannounced audit visits may be conducted as part of the system certification process in accordance with:

  • Exec. order 1977 on the use of pressurised equipment, which requires that the certifying body conduct unannounced visits within the certification period.
  • European directives which stipulate that unannounced visits may be conducted within the certification period.

FSSC 22000, which stipulates that the certifying body must be able to conduct at least 1 unannounced visit within the certification period.

After such a visit, the customer will receive an audit report.

5. Finances

5.1 General

Our services are provided at the rates specified in our most recently published pricing list.

FORCE Certification A/S provides quotes for certification services based on applicable rules for accredited certification, as well as on our experience with certification at similar companies. These quotes include time spent and any applicable travel and lodging expenses, in accordance with FORCE Certification’s most recently published pricing list.

5.2 Maintaining certification

To maintain certification, FORCE Certification conducts regular oversight visits at least once per year. The frequency of these visits will be specified in the certification agreement. You will be billed for hours associated with these visits, as well as any applicable travel and lodging expenses, in accordance with FORCE Certification A/S’s most recently published pricing list.

Before a certificate expires, FORCE Certification will conduct a re-certification visit, billed in accordance with the certification agreement.

5.3 Supplementary services

Other services deemed necessary by FORCE Certification A/S or desired by the company in connection with ongoing certification maintenance will be billed in accordance with the applicable pricing list.

In addition, there are travel and lodging expenses, in accordance with FORCE Certification A/S’s most recently published pricing list.

6. Special circumstances

Aside from the procedure itself, the company must be aware of certain situations that could arise during the certification process. These situations are described in greater detail in our special provisions, ABC-Sys.

For your convenience, some sections of these provisions are summarised below.

6.1 Suspending and recalling certification

At any time, FORCE Certification A/S may suspend a certificate within its period of validity in the event that its terms are violated or at the request of the company; for more details, see section I of ABC-Sys.

During the suspension period, normally no longer than 90 days, the customer’s management system certification will be temporarily invalidated.

The suspension status will be made public on FORCE Certification A/S’s
website, where it can be found under Search a valid scertificate.

At any time, FORCE Certification A/S may recall a certificate within its period of validity, in the event that the certified company neglects to rectify the situation(s) that resulted in suspension before the deadline set by FORCE Certification A/S.

The customer’s management system certification becomes invalid immediately after the recall notice is issued.

The recall status will be made public on FORCE Certification A/S’s website, where it can be found under Search a valid certificate.

Immediately upon receiving notice from FORCE Certification A/S of a suspended or re-called certificate, the customer must cease to use the FORCE Certification A/S mark, as well as any and all promotional materials which make reference to the certificate, including sales materials, brochures, websites, etc.

6.2 Changes to the certificate’s scope of applicability

In response to a request to expand the scope of applicability for an already issued certificate, FORCE Certification A/S will review the request and assess whether an audit visit is needed to determine whether to grant the expansion. This may be conducted at the same time as an oversight visit.
If FORCE Certification A/S finds that the customer has gravely or continuously failed to meet the certification requirements for a given portion of the certificate’s applicable scope, FORCE Certification A/S will restrict the scope of the certificate so as to exclude the areas which do not meet the requirements.
If FORCE Certification A/S restricts the scope of a certificate, all promotional materials must be corrected in accordance with the new scope.

6.3 Rules regarding the use of certification marks

FORCE Certification’s certification mark will be attached to certificates sent by post.

Requirements regarding the use of the mark are specified in ABC-Sys.

Note in particular that companies are not entitled to use DANAK’s marks in any way.
Once a certificate has been issued in accordance with a module listed in the European directives, the customer may use FORCE Certification’s identifying number, 0200, on the product classes to which the certificate applies.

Product marking regulations are provided in the corresponding EU directives.

Once an FSSC 22000 certificate has been issued, the company may use the FSSC certification mark. Additional information on this topic is available from the FSSC website.

6.4 Confidentiality

FORCE Certification A/S will treat all information as confidential in accordance with ABC-Sys.

6.5 Appeals and complaints

Note that appeals and complaints must be submitted in writing no later than 4 weeks following the receipt of a decision or the date of certification; see ABC-Sys.

The procedure for submitting an appeal or complaint is indicated on our website, under Complaints & Appeals to FORCE certification A/S.

6.6 Publication

FORCE Certification A/S is obligated to publish at appropriate intervals an overview of information on registered certificate holders; see ABC-Sys.

Anne Husted

Anne Husted

Sales Manager