About Graham Freeman

Graham Freeman is a content writer and editor at Intelex Technologies in Toronto, where he writes on topics relating to quality management. You can follow Graham on LinkedIn by clicking here: www.linkedin.com/in/graham-freeman-aa5a575b/

Brand Damage, Financial Liability, Criminal Charges: The High Cost of Not Meeting Regulatory Compliance Obligations

AI can reduce the cost of regulatory compliance
ehsAI’s next-wave compliance technology uses a patent-pending artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solution to analyze, organize and summarize complex regulatory documents.

Around the world, organizations in every industry have obligations to follow the requirements outlined in various rules, regulations, permits and directives. These requirements outline the way in which a company operates day-to-day, its interaction with the environment and its obligations to the health and safety of its workers.

Regulations can be mandated by any level of government or can be specific within certain industries, with a few important examples being Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

When organizations don’t meet their regulatory obligations, the result can be brand damage, financial liability and even criminal charges. For example, Volkswagen has paid billions to settle allegations that it used elaborate technology to cheat emissions tests and deceive … Read more...

WHO Report on COVID-19 Response Shows the Importance of Organizational Learning and System Preparedness

In May 2021, The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response presented its final report on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the World Health Organization. A significant lesson from the report is that standard EHSQ practices could have improved the COVID-19 response, reinforcing the importance of organizational learning and system preparedness.

The report, titled COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic, aims to provide insights into how the world responded to the fast-moving pandemic in its early stages, as well as how to learn the important lessons that can mitigate the impact of future health crises. While the report contains many frustrating and heart-breaking insights, EHSQ professionals will probably recognize some familiar themes. This summary will provide some examples of important elements of the COVID-19 response and the lessons we can learn from them.

Summary of the Impact of COVID-19

The report describes COVID-19 as the 21st century’s … Read more...

How the Capacity to Pivot Could Protect the Food Supply Chain

despite some disruptions to certain elements of the food supply, the food retail industry has so far demonstrated remarkable resiliency during the pandemic.

The theme of food has loomed large in the narrative of COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, fears of mass disruption of food supply chains led consumers to ransack supermarket shelves and hoard non-perishable items like soup, pasta and rice.

Yet despite some disruptions to certain elements of the food supply, such as shortages of meat resulting from COVID-19 outbreaks at critical meat processing facilities, the food retail industry has so far demonstrated remarkable resiliency during the pandemic. This is not to say that the food supply chain has emerged unscathed.

Lessons Learned about Food Supply Chain Resiliency

In a recent article in the journal Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Chenarides et al (2021) examine the devastating impact of the pandemic on the food service distribution channel … Read more...

Quality Management Can’t Be Optional Anymore

Here is an unfortunate truth: the story of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of epic quality failures in almost every area imaginable.

While there have been some admirable successes, such as the food and beverage organizations that have ensured the continued safe delivery of food supplies to most regions, failures both large and small have caused an untold amount of damage to the infrastructure of society and business. Arguably, these quality failures have worsened the impact of the pandemic, including economic devastation and even a higher death toll. 

Here are just a few of the quality failures that will become prominent themes in the narrative of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PPE Shortages and Quality Failures 

Almost immediately after the start of the pandemic, healthcare organizations worldwide faced a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as the crucial N95 respirators that would protect doctors, nurses and other frontline workers from infection. There were … Read more...

Your Training Probably Won’t Prevent Nuclear War, But It Might

Effective Training Strategies

On September 26, 1983, the Soviet early warning system detected the launch of five intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) from the United States. Rather than launch an immediate retaliation—which was the standard protocol—the Soviet commander on duty, Stanislav Petrov, determined that an attack by the United States would most likely involve an overwhelming number of ICBMs, not a handful. Petrov decided that the launch detection was a computer malfunction and did not issue orders for a nuclear counterstrike, despite not having the computer access to prove his belief. Petrov was proven correct when the American missiles did not arrive. In subsequent interviews, Petrov credited his training with providing him with the critical thinking skills to assess and judge the probabilities of the situation. Today he is recognized as the man whose clear thinking in a stressful situation helped prevent a global catastrophe.

While the consequences of poor training aren’t as high … Read more...

How BSI is Creating Health and Safety Standards to Protect the Public from COVID-19.

Face Masks and BSI Standards

Before 2020, most people who didn’t work in health and safety or who weren’t required to wear PPE for their job knew what the acronym means. By March of that year, the coronavirus pandemic had ensured that the term personal protective equipment (PPE) was now on everyone’s lips.

Since then, news reports and social interactions have been dominated with discussions about masks. Health agencies, governments, and private businesses have provided guidance and policies about wearing masks in public, while the early stages of the pandemic saw massive supply chain failures endanger the flow of critical supplies of PPE like N95 respirators to the healthcare workers who needed them most. Since most people don’t typically keep a supply of personal PPE such as masks available to them at all times, the mandates requiring masks in public created a surging demand for cloth masks, which was met by various entrepreneurs, clothiers, and … Read more...

Does Document Management Apply to Fish? The Answer is More Complicated Than You Might Think

Document Management

In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that a fish is not a document. While this might seem like an absurd problem for one of the most powerful legal organizations in the world to consider, the idea behind it is an important one that might have an impact on how you do your job. On August 23, 2007, John Yates, the captain of the fishing boat Miss Katie, was fishing off the coast of Florida when he was found to have caught and kept a number of red grouper fish that were under the legal minimum size limit of 20 inches. The field officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission instructed Yates to return to port and keep the fish for evidence. Instead, Yates threw the fish back into the sea, effectively destroying the evidence against him.

In response, the Department of Justice … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part 5

Quality 4.0 holds the potential to provide innovative new business models, particularly for smaller firms. (Radziwill, 2020). While the financial investment in technology will be a constraint for some organizations, the reality for most is that the customers and end-users will increasingly expect businesses to respond to their needs for customization and enhanced customer experience. Ibarra et al (2018) suggest several different approaches for new business models. 

Service-Oriented Approach 

Organizations should move from a product-focus to a service-focus of which products are simply one component. The Product-Service System (PSS) is a framework that integrates product development and offerings to provide customizable solutions that meet specific customer needs and are co-created with the customer.  

Network-Oriented Approach 

As demonstrated by Logistics 4.0, organizations must look beyond vertical integration and embrace both horizontal and vertical integration across the value chain. This integration will blur the line between one organization and the … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part 4

In the last few weeks, we’ve explored some of the different ways in which Quality 4.0 is changing the future of quality in areas such as logistics and maintenance. In this installment, we’ll look at the impact of Quality 4.0 on health and safety. 


Healthy Operator 4.0 


In traditional manufacturing environments, keeping workers safe is an ongoing concern. While most organizations dedicate significant resources to worker safety, variability in job roles and individual performance can make it difficult to prescribe operating procedures that prevent injury and illness from over-exertion or cognitive overload. Humans, after all, are not machines, and small differences between the way people perform a task like carrying a heavy load can mean the difference between safety and crippling musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that are both painful and expensive. 

Industry 4.0 provides the technology to collect real-time data on job performance. This can be used to design physical … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part III

Quality 4.0

In this installment of our series dedicated to Quality 4.0, we continue our look at some of the practical applications of Quality 4.0 methods in different industries. With supply chain being a prominent concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tools of Quality 4.0 promise to alleviate many of the stresses that currently plague industries around the world and to improve the future of global supply networks. 


Logistics 4.0 


Supply chains, particularly those that stretch across international boundaries, are extraordinarily complex systems. They involve millions of products moving across multiple touchpoints. Every participant contributes to the goals of maximizing efficiency, productivity, and profit while minimizing damage, risk, and threats to safety.  

Logistics examines how producers, inspectors, and distributors are interconnected and can complement one another to increase overall system performance. This contrasts with the typical approach taken inside of an organization, in which individual functions pursue their own agendas and … Read more...