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Oeko-Tex trains first batch of STep certification auditors
Jul '13
On May 27-29 in Zurich, Switzerland and June 4-6 in Hong Kong, OEKO-TEX trained the first 50 auditors for conducting the facility audits in the framework of the new STeP certification for sustainable textile production.

The three-day training sessions were divided into different workshops to cover all aspects of the modular STeP certification system.

“The most valuable part of such a training,“ says OEKO-TEX Business Development Manager David Pircher, “is sharing experience.“ Regular meetings amongst OEKO-TEX auditors as well as with specialists from organizations such as SAI are planned to ensure the continuing exchange of experiences from the audits.

“This type of partnership,” Mr. Pircher explains, “is a valuable and economically practical way of achieving a goal together – making the world a little better.”

The textile experts at the OEKO-TEX institutes and worldwide representative offices have been trained with regard to their rights and duties as STeP auditors. This primarily includes independence and neutrality when assessing the production facilities in the textile chain.

The training also covered the everyday handling of the STeP assessment tool, the creation of check lists for the audits and the drawing up of test reports. Planning and execution of the audits also received particular attention. This means that the trained auditors will now be able to carry out standardised audits worldwide.

Team Building

The “Medicine Wheel Tool” was used in the training units for “team building” according to the comprehensive principles of the Genuine ContactTM approach. The OEKO-TEX experts jointly developed the purpose, the values and the vision of this group in order to create the future “STeP auditor team” from all participants. This formed the basis for the first necessary steps and measures to achieve this vision.

Chemicals Management

The OEKO-TEX auditors also learned about the structure of an optimum chemicals management system and how companies can implement it in everyday production. The objective assessment of how a company uses chemical substances and agents is based on the three stages of “know”, “assess” and “decide”.

Taking into account these aspects, the auditors are able to specifically check the handling of any chemicals used and to carry out the required inspections, for example with regard to compliance with the restricted substances list (RSL).

Chemicals management includes both highly dangerous substances and those harmful to the environment as well as auxiliary materials such as machine oils and cleaning agents. In the end this distinction is necessary for an adequate assessment and has to be taken into account even by smaller facilities that do not operate in the finishing sector.

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