Quality Management 2.0 Blog

ISO 9001:2008 Surveillance Audits

Posted by Mary McAtee on Dec 19, 2014 @ 11:06 AM

Old Dog, New Tricksold-dog-new-tricks

Last week was our annual ISO 9001:2008 surveillance Audit. Thousands of companies have depended on us for advice and support in achieving and maximizing the value of their registration efforts. It was to be expected that we would do well and we did. Lapses in compliance could not be blamed on ignorance of the requirements or not understanding what the auditor’s expectations would be. This was a particularly challenging year for IBS as a company. Siemens completed their acquisition of IBS and began the exciting but demanding process of integrating us into the “Digital Factory” Group. This integration resulted in new systems and processes to learn and master. The impact rippled through documentation updates, training requirements, Assessment criteria and almost every facet of our Quality Management System and business processes. We have been registered for over 15 years and we have enough Lead Assessors on staff to populate our own Registrar. It is easy to fall into a compliance rut, same process, same training, etc. This year under the leadership of a new CEO, who understood the value as well as the challenge of organizational change, we were encouraged to form teams to rethink processes and people. Everyone in the organization moved out of their comfort zone to accept new responsibilities and to update and redefine almost every business and quality process. Utilizing the Management Review process we defined a framework of measureable quality objectives that mapped to our business plan goals for the year.

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Topics: 9001 Software

Emergency Drills for Environmental Health & Safety

Posted by Mary McAtee on Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

It was a blessedly slow news cycle over the Thanksgiving holidays. Buried in the stories about the awful travel weather, the Turkey pardons and Black Friday craziness was a story that caught my interest here in New York. In New Jersey, land of chemical companies and refineries, a large producer of a highly flammable chemical, found themselves at the center of an unsettling news story. The company failed to provide local Emergency Services with information concerning the types of chemicals and the volumes produced at their facility, as mandated under New Jersey law. To make matters worse, they were also found to have failed to develop threat assessment and Risk Analysis records with supporting contingency plans. The plant in the story was located less than two miles from an Elementary school in a primarily residential area. They were ultimately fined four thousand dollars, the maximum penalty provided for under New Jersey law. Sadly, a spokesman for the state indicated that recent audits of New Jersey refineries and chemical producers uncovered many plants that were not meeting minimum requirements in these areas. In particular, the spokesman was concerned that the failure to notify local Emergency Services such as Fire and Police could lead to greater risk for first responders and less effective action in the case of an emergency event. Although not specifically mandated by law, the official pointed out that notifying regional Emergency Services, in addition to the closest local Fire and Police responders is a proven best practice. Regional Emergency Services will almost certainly be called upon for support in the event of an incident or emergency. Not understanding the chemicals produced, the likely resulting health and environmental threats to both the first responders and surrounding community puts everyone involved at greater and needless risk.

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Topics: EH&S

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