This guide will walk you through the following: what the international standard ISO 15489 covers, its purpose, its principles and requirements, its implementations, and some frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Published 22 Nov 2022
ISO 15489 is an international standard created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for records management, recognized and adopted globally. The first version, which was published in 2001, has been revised and republished with the most recent 2016 version. Originally, it has two parts: Part 1 defines the concepts and principles that lay down the guidelines for creating, capturing, and managing records; Part 2 then (which was withdrawn) outlines the specific guidelines for the standard.
Organizations follow this standard to effectively manage their records and documents according to a set of guiding concepts and principles. Ultimately, ISO 15489 is helpful in letting businesses have secure and efficient recordkeeping and records management processes that can help them in various aspects and business functions, such as safety management, data privacy protection, and continuous improvement initiatives.
For a brief overview, here’s a straightforward comparison of the standard’s 2001 and 2016 versions:
The former ISO 15489 Part 2 was withdrawn in 2017 and instead of revising it, new projects were published. These include the following:
According to the ISO, records are considered pieces of evidence of business activity and information assets. Depending on the type of business, an organization’s level of reliance on records, documents, and information may vary. Regardless, having a records management framework with a proper records lifecycle process can result in various benefits, both for the short and long term.
Establishing a functional records management approach can be done more effectively by following a global standard’s principles and practices. This is where ISO 15489 comes in. The first part of ISO 15489:2016 highlights the principles and concepts of an organization’s records management approach.
Also, conforming with a global standard on a records management system like ISO 15489 helps an organization comply with laws and regulations exclusive to their jurisdiction while meeting world-class standards at the same time.
As the nature of business records and the methods of managing them evolve over time mainly due to digitalization, it’s essential to regularly check your organization’s guidelines and processes in records management to keep up with the changes.
To guide you, following a global standard like ISO 15489 can help. The ISO 15489 overview is comprised of the following clauses:
Empower your team with SafetyCulture to perform checks, train staff, report issues, and automate tasks with our digital platform.
Some examples of where following a records management standard like ISO 15489 is highly beneficial are in the realm of privacy. These include the following:
These laws and regulations tackle guidelines, requirements, and processes for organizations under each jurisdiction that they should follow for collecting, creating, storing, updating, maintaining, and protecting consumer information and the general public’s data. Hence, following a set of guiding principles and practices outlined in an international standard helps businesses maintain compliance or conformance with statutory requirements.
Since business records help provide context to activities and processes, it’s highly necessary to have well-trained records managers and employees in identifying records when they are created. Also, they must be well-informed about the concepts of records and information management so that they can help various departments and functions effectively use and store relevant records.
Different types of training programs can be implemented, including sit-down sessions to align those in charge of records management with the standard practices the organization must follow. Requirements on records retention must also be properly disseminated and enforced for strict compliance.
In these initiatives, using microlearning solutions like EdApp by SafetyCulture can help make learning more accessible, easy to absorb, and mobile. Also, your ISO 15489 training efforts can be more streamlined, letting everyone involved in this business aspect be aligned with the practices and processes to implement toward an effective records management system.
Record management ensures that business or organizational records are identified, maintained, and stored securely to help achieve business objectives, provide context to business processes, and continuously improve systems. In the same way, this process is also useful in discarding unimportant information and records.
Depending on the type of business, the job title of the one responsible for record management may vary. Commonly, archivists, records managers, records administrators, and custodians are in charge of managing a business’s records and documents.
While records management can be a part of any type or size of an organization, ISO 15489 is typically used in industries that deal with sensitive information (e.g., healthcare) and in businesses that maintain large amounts of records for business purposes (e.g., retail, manufacturing, and hospitality).
As with other ISO standards, an ISO 15489 certification or conformance isn’t a requirement for businesses and organizations. However, following the principles and practices recommended by the standard can help result in many advantages. Such include:
Digital tools and innovative technologies like SafetyCulture help empower businesses to improve their processes, including the way they maintain conformity with standards like ISO 15489 and implement recordkeeping as well as good documentation practices.
SafetyCulture is an operations platform that helps organizations establish a more efficient, standardized records management system as guided by their ISO 15489 conformity. Those in charge of keeping and managing business records can use SafetyCulture and be able to do the following:
Patricia Guevara is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. With her extensive content writing and copywriting experience, she creates high-quality content across a variety of relevant topics. She aims to promote workplace safety, operational excellence, and continuous improvement in her articles. She is passionate about communicating how technology can be used to streamline work processes, empowering companies to realize their business goals.
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