Revision in Social Accountability Standard: SA8000:2014





Revision in Social Accountability Standard: SA8000:2014 

SA8000:2014 is released after a 9 month long consultation and development process.

Every five years SAI revises the SA8000 standard in order to ensure its continued relevance and adoptability. This process is conducted in accordance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards.

This is the fourth issue of SA8000, a voluntary standard for auditable third-party verification, setting out the requirements to be met by organizations, including the establishment or improvement of workers’ rights, workplace conditions and an effective management system.

The foundational elements of this Standard are based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, conventions of the ILO, international human rights norms and national labor laws.

The standard allows the organization to achieve full and sustained compliance with SA8000 while continually improving, which is also known as Social Performance. Hence it’s a very effective tool for organizations who wish to demonstrate to their customers, stakeholders & supply chain that they care for human rights and safety at workplace.

The following are some of the most significant new additions to the revised SA8000

Identification and assessment of risk:

The Advisory 18 requirements have been included in the standard to make it compatible to the OHSAS 18001 standard and to include loss prevention mechanism in view of the fires and building collapses experienced in the last couple of years resulting in tragic deaths and injured workers in some of the countries. The risk assessment will cover health and safety in general for all employees, visitors, contractual employees working onsite and offsite, residences and property provided by the organization, whether it owns, leases or contracts the residences or property from a service provider. Focus shall be on occupational health and safety, emergency preparedness, fire prevention and protection, escape routes, emergency exits, industry sector specific safety such as chemical safety, electrical safety, machine safety, safety for women in other conditions , use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and  legal compliance  including safety inspections of equipments, buildings etc.  The risk identification shall be done for current and potential health hazards and records of all corrective & preventive actions shall be maintained. The risk mitigation planning and continuous review will also come under focus from a jointly participative group, Social Performance Team (SPT) and improvements shall be demonstrated by organizations.


Formation of Social Performance Team (SPT) & Monitoring:

Promoting a participative management culture by increasing the role of trade unions beyond collective bargaining and involving them in improving health & safety and social performance of the organization. The SPT will also be responsible for monitoring the health of SA8000 system & providing valuable feedback to the Management for taking the right decisions at right time.


Internal Involvement and Communication:

Onus on organizations to demonstrate that all that personnel effectively understand the requirements of SA8000, and shall regularly communicate the requirements of SA8000 through routine communications.


Complaint Management and Resolution:

Not just addressing concerns but a written grievance procedure that is confidential, unbiased, non-retaliatory and accessible and available to personnel and interested parties to make comments, recommendations, reports or complaints concerning the workplace and/or nonconformance to the SA8000 Standard.


External verification and stakeholder engagement:

While co-operating with external auditors during unannounced audit was already there however, now the organization are required to participate in stakeholder engagement in order to attain sustainable compliance with the SA8000 Standard


Corrective and Preventive Actions:

Prompt implementation of corrective and preventive actions and provision of adequate resources for them. The SPT to ensure that the actions are effectively implemented.  The SPT to maintain records, including timelines, that list, at minimum, non-conformances related to SA8000, their root causes, the corrective and preventive actions taken and implementation results.


Training and Capacity Building:

Training plan for all personnel to effectively implement the SA8000 Standard as informed by the results of risk assessments and measurement of  the effectiveness & maintaining records.


Management of suppliers and contractors:

Addresses issues related to ‘due diligence’ of supply chain (suppliers/subcontractors, private employment agencies and sub-suppliers) to identify & mitigate significant risks. This is to be done in accordance with organization’s ability and resources to influence these entities.


Two additional documents are under development and will support interpretation and implementation of the Standard. The first is the SA8000 Performance Indicator Annex; a normative document that sets out the minimum performance expectations for an SA8000certified organization. The second is the SA8000:2014 Guidance Document, which provides interpretations of SA8000, guidance on how to implement its requirements,   examples of methods for verifying compliance, and serves as a handbook for auditors and for organizations seeking SA8000 certification. Both documents will be freely available on the SAI website when they are published

Copy of SA8000:2014 can be freely downloaded from 

SAI website


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