Archive for the ‘Environmental, Health and Safety’ Category

Congratulations! You are now in charge of creating an ISO 9001 system – now what?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Quite often, the G3 staff is asked to recommend a plan of action for people who find themselves in the position of “being volunteered” to put together an ISO 9001 (or any other ISO 9001-based standard) system for their company. Unfortunately, for employees that have little to no experience with quality standards, this can be an overwhelming task. We recommend the following steps:

Step 1 – Before you can plan what to do, you and the management team need to know what is required. Start with an overview training session on the standard for yourself followed by a session for top management. Strongly emphasize that the standard is process based and highlight the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. All parties involved in the implementation must realize that the standard has a couple of key principles that are referenced all throughout the standard – customer satisfaction and continual improvement. The ultimate goal is to make all customers happy, but the method of getting to that goal is by the continual improvement of your processes. This is where top management needs to make a little paradigm shift – customer satisfaction means more than a reduction in phone calls from the customer yelling about something that wasn’t just right. It certainly means more than assuming a customer is happy if they continue to give orders for more products and services. Remember, customers can multi-task by giving your organization a new purchase order while giving a new supplier the thumbs up for the next order. By the time some realize the customer isn’t happy, it can be too late.

This is where continual improvement comes into play. By knowing what your customers think of the level of service and value they receive from your organization, your company can initiate the proper continual improvement objectives that can reduce or eliminate the problems and issues that can make their way to the customer.

This is why you need to get all of top management involved. Everyone must get a clear view of the big picture. Having a quality management system (QMS) based on the appropriate ISO standard should become the implementation of a quality philosophy and roadmap for doing things right. Stress that it is a quality management system by which the company will operate and oh, by the way, it just happens to comply with the ISO standard. After that, don’t mention the letters “ISO” – just QMS. Companies that implement systems based on the need to meet ISO requirements often find that employees put an emphasis on doing things just to meet the standard as opposed to improving the process.

Additional steps will be discussed in future posts. Visit g3iso.com for more info.

Environmental reporting not keeping you busy enough? Get ready for Greenhouse Gas reporting!

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

It was only a matter of time – and the time has arrived.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to establish a nationwide system for reporting GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. It is a program that could serve as the basis for a federal cap on the buildup of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming.

The registry plan would cover about 13,000 facilities that account for 85 to 90 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas output.

The plan will be adopted by the end of the year and greenhouse gas statistics will be available by the end of 2010. The EPA requirements would apply to large industrial sources that emit 25,000 metric tons or more a year, including oil and chemical refineries; cement, glass, pulp and paper plants; manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines; and confined animal-feeding operations. In addition to carbon dioxide, emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases would have to be reported.

The good news is that most small businesses would fall well below the threshold and would not be required to report, EPA officials said.

For more info on GHG reporting, contact the experts at G3 Solutions.

New (or maybe rumored) Corrective and Preventive Action requirements! Make sure your system is up to speed!

Friday, May 8th, 2009

In order to accommodate the rumored additional changes to ISO 9001:2008, you will need to incorporate the following form into your organizations Corrective and Preventive Action system. It is also rumored that these requirements will affect additional standards such as ISO/TS 16949, ISO 14001, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 22000 and various other standards.

Free download: iso-mil-hf-car-par

The downloadable form was developed by members of the military to facilitate the documentation of key personal issues into a corrective and preventive action format. If you have any questions or require any help in the application or requirements of this form, please contact G3 Solutions. We will do our best to aid in the development of your quality management system and sense of humor.

Identifying Environmental Aspects for ISO 14001

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

During ISO 14001 implementation, the most important exercise a company will go through is identifying all possible environmental aspects. Without a proper and thorough examination of all processes, functions and grounds of a facility, the rest of the environmental management system (EMS) is an exercise in meaningless documentation.

Once all aspects are identified, a determination must be made as to what aspects are significant and if they are within the organizations ability to control. This is best conducted through some type of risk analysis format such as a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) type review of the aspects.

If the process of identifying all environmental aspects of your company’s activities is becoming a daunting task due to limited or stretched resources, contact the experts at G3 Solutions today!

If only all business travel was this much fun!

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Normally we use this blog for serious (or at least semi-serious) ISO info, but we just had to pass this along. The attached video has absolutely nothing to do with ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 14001 or any other ISO standard – we promise! If you travel a lot for business, you will definitely appreciate the clip.

Have some fun – click on the following link and watch: rapping_flight_attendant

When it comes to training, don’t forget the follow up!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Most companies do a good job of providing proper employee training to ensure a qualified and competent workforce. Clause 6.2.2c in ISO 9001 clearly states that any training or other actions taken by top management to achieve competence must be evaluated for effectiveness. This also holds true for many standards such as ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 14001, ISO 13485 and others.

A common issue found during internal and external audits is the lack of evidence to demonstrate that effectiveness is evaluated. Keep in mind the standard does not prescribe how this is to be done, so there is tremendous flexibility in how this task can be completed.

Always consider that every ISO requirement does not need a new procedure, work instruction or form! Simple changes to existing process documents can, in most cases, do the job just fine. Make sure the method chosen provides a gage that is useful to the company in evaluating resource needs. Remember, the goal for any quality system is to provide value to an organization – not just fulfill standard requirements.

For more information, visit g3iso.com today!

When conducting internal audits, planning is key

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

As consultants and trainers, we are often asked about the internal audit process and the amount of time that should be given to internal auditors to complete their audit. Obviously, there are many factors that go into the calculation of time that should be spent performing an audit. Complexity of process, number of employees, number of facilities and document review all have a big factor in audit time management.

One area that should always be given a significant amount of audit time is document review. Too often, we see companies that provide to their audit team members pre-packaged materials such as audit checklists or a few standard questions that become both predictable and repetitive, and end up providing no real value to the process.

Internal auditors should be given plenty of time to review the appropriate standard, process flow diagrams, procedures, work instructions, key metrics/measureables and previous audit data to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of what should be happening before they conduct the audit. The end result will be an effective audit that can provide real benefits and continual improvement opportunities.

Visit g3iso.com for more tips on internal audits.

Prevention of Pollution – More than just a term in ISO 14001!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Having an environmental management system in place requires a company to make a key commitment to prevention of pollution. This requirement can be found in ISO 14001 section 4.2b and is sometimes treated as a simple verbiage request to be included into the environmental policy.

In order to meet the intent of this requirement, an organization must be able to clearly demonstrate how this is actually done. It cannot be just a simple phrase documented in a policy. A clear connection must be made as to how pollution will be prevented and since it is part of the policy, it should be understood throughout the organization.

For more tips on environmental management systems, visit g3iso.com today!

The position of AIAG on OHSAS 18001 – Is it politics once again?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

In a recent official position statement from the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), there appears to be a rather unenthusiastic regard for the implementation of OHSAS 18001 throughout the automotive supply chain. The statement, dated February 2009, presents the AIAG position quite clearly:

“The Automotive Industry Action Group Health, Safety, and Environmental Steering Committee believes firmly believes that the use of formal management systems are necessary for the effective management of health safety and environmental programs, and thus fully endorse ANSI Z10 and International Organization of Standardization (ISO) programs such as ISO’s 14001 environmental management standard.

We believe that management of safety and health as part of an existing management system is necessary to achieve overall HSE excellence. We believe that the management of health & safety under the BSI OHSAS 18001 program is good practice, but less efficient in terms of both cost and time, as compared to managing health & safety as part of an existing management system. This is fundamental to making safety and health integrated within existing management systems and part of the day-to-day business activities.

In conclusion, AIAG:
• believes that the International Labor Organization (ILO); OHSMS Guidelines of 2001 provide a sound basis for any nation or organization to develop an effective safety and health management system
• is concerned when entities such as BSI issue ’standards’ utilizing a numbering sequence that at the very least confuses many into believing the standard was issued by ISO, and
• will work to integrate health & safety programs within a comprehensive and effective management system, but will not specifically mandate OHSAS 18001 certification.”

Yet again, when it comes to having a so-called “standard”, politics has raised its ugly head one more time. What do you think? Log in and let us know!

For more information on OHSAS 18001, visit our website at www.g3iso.com today!

Combining management systems has pros and cons – beware the pitfalls!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

For most companies, combining the requirements of many ISO standards has its advantages. Common overlap of requirements for most popular quality and environmental standards (ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, etc.) include document and record control, corrective and preventive action, management review, internal audits and many others. This allows for simple and effective methods to document many of those “shall” statements that each standard commands.

What often can get missed in combined systems are the standard specific demands and subtle nuances that are required for a particular standard. For example, continual improvement is the focus for ISO 9001 but maintaining the effectiveness of the system is the goal of ISO 13485. Management review inputs for ISO/TS 16949 differ from ISO 14001. Environmental policy requirements differ from the quality policy requirements of AS9100. These are just a few simple examples – the full list of technical differences can be quite lengthy.

Because of the potential pitfalls of missing some requirements, it is essential that combined systems go through a full document review at least annually to ensure complete conformance to each particular standard. Ideally, this review should be done above and beyond the internal audits that are conducted throughout the year. The result will payoff in system efficiency and effectiveness.

If your combined system has your head spinning, contact the experts at G3 Solutions. Visit our full website at www.g3iso.com today!