Safety Management Systems and Improving your Organization’s Safety

What is a safety management system?

A management system is the playbook on how an organization manages its moving parts. It provides guidelines to achieve your operational goals and create a culture of safety. The level of simplicity or the complexity of such a system is entirely dependent on the size of your organization, documentation requirements, the business functions needing control, various stakeholders, the business sector and even legal obligations. Most organizations require more than just a checklist or safety manual to make sure they are doing more than just complying with regulatory requirements. You need help managing the human factors, promoting safety awareness, providing guidelines to your employees and working towards accident prevention.

Specific to safety, a Safety Management System (SMS) is a strategic, systematic approach to ensuring a culture of safety within your organization. It is not just a set of rules based on regulatory standards such as … Read more...

10 Tips for Effective FMEAs

The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) can reduce or eliminate failure costs and protect against errors by illuminating issues before they arise. The technique can be used to design products or services, the production processes that deliver them, or to improve prototypes or existing processes.

What practices should you adopt to promote a robust FMEA process? Here are some to start with:

  1. Decide on a scope for the FMEA exercise before you begin. Will it pertain to one process, subprocess, part or product? Will it be unique to one site or facility, or can it be applied to many? Defining a scope can make the deliberation process easier.
  2. Start the FMEA process as early as possible. Don’t wait to explore risks and risk management approaches until designs are fixed, and the assets to support a production process and procured and installed. It’s easier to make error-preventing changes
Read more...

On Environment: WOTUS – 5 Simple Words with a Complex Definition

This post provides three main points to enhance the situational awareness of EHS managers and staff when thinking about the new proposed WOTUS rule.

Waters of the United States (WOTUS). These are the 5 words that have been at the center of a contentious legal battle since the 1980s. These words have been argued over in the United States Supreme Court, they’ve been interpreted broadly and narrowly, and they’ve been analyzed by legal minds around the country (and perhaps the world, too).

The regulatory history is a topic for a legal journal, not for this blog. Similarly, opinion about the interconnectedness of water resources is most appropriate for a debate among passionate friends and coworkers.

I’ll therefore limit this post to three main points that I think will enhance the situational awareness of EHS managers and staff when thinking about how this new proposed rule will affect their roles and, … Read more...

Brexit Worries, CDM 2015 Define Future of Health and Safety in U.K. Construction

The likelihood of a construction worker being killed on the job in the United Kingdom is on average four times higher than in other industries. With the sector employing roughly seven percent of the U.K. workforce, that translates into a high number of people who unfortunately do not return home at the end of the work day.

According to the U.K. Health and Safety Executive, the government agency that oversees workplace health and safety, there were 38 fatal injuries to workers (and six to members of the public) in the construction sector during the period between April 2017 and March 2018. That number has not changed in five years, with the average during the past half-decade sitting at 39 fatalities per year.

It’s easy to discern the causes for a large majority of these deaths. According to the HSE, a staggering 47 percent of construction-related fatalities were due to falls … Read more...

BRC V.8 Puts the Spotlight on Global Food Safety and Quality

In today’s global marketplace, the food on your plate can come from anywhere in the world. Increasingly complex global supply chains mean that the assurance of food safety and quality to prevent foodborne illness is more important than ever.

Among those looking to bring uniformity to processes that ensure safe food for all is the British Retail Consortium (BRC), whose food safety and quality standard has provided important guidance to global food growers and suppliers, as well as a common framework for safety and quality for the worldwide food industry, for the past 20 years. The BRC Standard offers important direction and common metrics for consistency and safety in food quality and production.

Version 8, the latest iteration, provides an umbrella framework for other individual international regulations regarding food safety and quality monitoring. It helps suppliers raise the bar on things like reducing food recalls due to factors including: … Read more...

Culture Of Quality: Achieving Transformational Success

Technology can solve many problems. As business and consumer technology becomes cheaper and more powerful, it’s easy to think that simply purchasing a new platform or application is all we need to do to ensure revolutionary increases to our productivity. With software-as-a-service (SaaS) becoming the standard approach to implementing software, it’s also easier to use and distribute technology across the organization than ever before.

Yet technology is not a magic wand we can wave around to achieve innovation or transformational success. Organizations are more than just collections of tools for measuring production methods, and simply collecting process data doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to compete effectively in the marketplace. It’s only when tools come together with processes and people to produce a true culture of quality that organizations will be able to implement a quality management system that will drive operational excellence.

For a culture of quality to flourish, … Read more...

The Ultimate ISO 45001 Checklist

Demonstrating performance of environment, health, and safety (EHS) initiatives is a challenge. There are the obvious legal compliance and established safety policy obligations, but to truly optimize an EHS management program, there also must be a management-led culture of a commitment to safety, inclusive and open communication among employees, and demonstrated continuous improvement of risk management. The purpose of ISO 45001, the Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard published by the International Standards Organization (ISO), seeks to provide employers of all sizes worldwide a tool that will enable them to proactively identify and manage EHS risks and specifically evaluate the performance of EHS programs.

Although ISO 45001 is an effective way of enhancing EHS performance, it can be a cumbersome task to fulfill its requirements. This checklist will audit your conformance with the evaluation components in section 9 of the standard. Even if you are not seeking official ISO 45001 … Read more...

Making the Case for Health and Safety with ISO 45001

The new ISO 45001 standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S), published in March 2018 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), specifies requirements for an OH&S management system. It offers guidance to enable organizations to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health.

For OH&S leaders looking to drive the adoption of the new standard throughout their workplaces, it is important to understand the goals and motivations of their business leaders. In many organizations, executive-level concerns include:

  • legal
  • social/ethical
  • financial
  • organizational resilience
  • protecting workers from harm
  • financial loss from production, replacing equipment and labour, management time, reputation, orders, worker morale, penalties and insurance premiums.

Traditionally, most OH&S professionals have made the case for improved corporate health and safety conditions to management by using accident data, legal compliance and/or costs of failings. But the movement toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is today a more powerful … Read more...

On Environment: 2018’s Most Impactful Environmental Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

The close of every year elicits reflection on the months past and anticipation of new adventures ahead. As we conclude 2018, we reflect on the environmental regulatory and deregulatory actions that have taken place in the United States and we anticipate new challenges, new adventures, and new opportunities to evolve in the future.

I started thinking about the most impactful environmental regulatory and deregulatory actions from this past year. It was a tough year for environmentalists and regulated industry alike. Environmental groups were busy fighting regulatory rollbacks and regulated industry had to contend with unstable regulatory targets. With this in mind, here are my top three most impactful actions and why I chose them.

NUMBER 1

The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Proposed Rule (August 21, 2018)

The ACE Rule is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) replacement. After repealing the CPP, reasoning that EPA (under Obama) … Read more...

Did You Know That Customer Complaints Can Be a Good Thing for Your Business?

Surely, it’s a bad thing when a business receives customer complaints. If the customer isn’t happy, then there must have been a poor interaction and we need to do everything we can to make the customer happy as quickly as possible, right?

Well, not so fast. While it’s true that no one likes to hear about customers being unhappy, it’s also true that customer complaints are very valuable learning opportunities. When customers tell you why they’re unhappy and what you need to do to make things right, they’re giving you important information about how to fix your processes and design your products to improve and enhance the overall experience for all your customers. With the broad availability of technology making consumers increasingly knowledgeable about what they want, enhanced customer experience and satisfaction is set to become the best way in which businesses can differentiate themselves from their competition.

However, collecting, … Read more...