Benefits of Integrating Quality, and EH&S Management Systems

by

Michael T. Noble, CIH, CSP, ARM

Reference: "Organizational Mastery" with Integrated Management Systems: "Controlling the Dragon"

Published by Wiley & Sons 2000

 

Much of the following is discussed in more detail in the referenced text, which will be released by Wiley in July 2000. Safety should be a key element of process improvement and quality enhancement. To me, it is almost unimaginable for companies to implement quality management systems (QMS’s) and not include safety in the process improvement effort. Many U.S. companies have chosen not to seek ISO certification but still implement a management system that is consistent with ISO requirements but not burdened with the documentation or administrative costs generated by some registrars. The discussions provided here are intended to clearly illustrate how all of these systems have a common management and process engineering foundation. The key for future process improvement and financial success is to implement an IMS or to create an IMS by merging the missing pieces of QEH&S Management.

This paper will encourage managers to implement quality or environmental management systems and, to the extent possible, integrate these systems, including process safety. References to the various quality and environmental management systems, including ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, are simply to give the reader a framework to build an effective system that is consistent with processes used globally by their customers and vendors. Becoming ISO certified is a business decision that will not be discussed here. My overriding objective is to help you see how to improve process quality while reducing EH&S risks.

I will encourage you to consider using ISO systems to establish strong process quality management. I also believe that if your primary focus is on improving performance, and not on certification and regulatory compliance, then the burden of developing documentation records and regulatory conformance will be significantly reduced. Your system should first of all make sense from an operations and process improvement perspective and not be driven by concerns over your audit. Your objective is to reduce facility risk, not to establish "desk audit" tools for your registrar.

In addition organizations can work with their information system (IS) departments to develop the record keeping and data management systems, policy, and procedure templates that will need to be shared between various elements of the organization. Some data and information management systems that are commercially available can significantly reduce the documentation burden associated with ISO certification, and should be evaluated in light of the organization’s business needs and existing systems.

A well-thought-out QMS that integrates EH&S will significantly improve process performance and reduce risk and the costly liabilities associated with process non-conformance over time, even if certification is not a priority. The decision to implement a certified management system should be a second priority and not the focus of the implementation effort. Key to improved performance is system design and tapping the resource that exists with the first-line supervisors and employees who perform the organization’s daily critical tasks. If employees are your most valuable resource then they must be heavily involved in the QEH&S process improvement system.

This paper, and the referenced book written by this writer should help operations managers, quality engineers, risk managers, safety managers, industrial hygienists, and environmental engineers see the power of working together to improve process performance at all levels. The tools and concepts that are common to ISO, Deming, Juran, Crosby here can become part of an overall decision-making strategy to help manage and mitigate risks.

Deming and Juran drew their experiences from World War II. The systems used by manufacturers supporting the war effort focused on statistical control of mass production to supply the military. Lives were at stake, the fate of the world was at stake, and quality-on time delivery of goods and services was critical. Deming and Juran then used these methods to help them with the post-war reconstruction of Japan. For some reason, American manufacturers believed that the post-war production of products did not require the same rigor as the military-industrial output. This notion was probably attributed to some arrogance over having the only significant industrial infrastructure remaining in the world, and to a return of men to production jobs that were not familiar with these systems.

The boom years of post-war America focused on quantity, and taking advantage of increasing market demand. The Japanese, however, were starting over and had focused on developing products and the systems to deliver them, which balanced both quality and quantity.

Process management is becoming very important for companies not only in the United States, but both in Europe and in countries with developing economies. I am asking the reader to think about integrating QEH&S programs in their facilities. I believe this objective is possible by using ISO 9000/14000 as potential models to build the integrated system or management process.

This paper will also argue the merits of IMS’s that includes focus on safety management, which until recently has not received the attention it deserves in the ISO management standard setting process. Currently there is a draft occupational health and safety management system standard OHSAS 18001, that most likely will become part of a future ISO standard. It is interesting to note that in the United Kingdom, management systems have been required by standards such as BS 8800 for several years.

Planning must be the foundation for designing and successfully implementing a total process management system. Clear roles and responsibilities, as well as a process for systematically reviewing process/resource inputs to the system such as the procurement procedures, training, maintenance, and procedural controls, must be established.

The concepts of multiple root cause analysis, risk management, risk mapping, process non-conformance and accident costs, and systems safety should be introduced as part of the IMS. These concepts serve as tools to help prevent non-conformance and to learn from existing non-conformances. Processes have primary or critical process inputs (see Fig. 1) that, if substandard in any way, they will ultimately be the root cause of non-conformances and accidents/incidents.

Industrial Work Process Model, figure 1

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It is our responsibility to evaluate all primary process inputs to ensure that they are adequate and that they do not become the root cause of an incident. We are also responsible for learning from our mistakes and evaluating process non-conformances and incidents to identify the multiple root causes of the process failure, including the establishment of incompatible goals. These responsibilities must include taking appropriate actions to ensure that failure does not happen again, including sharing lessons learned with appropriate managers and employees so that they to can avoid recreating the incident.

The necessary elements and implementation of an integrated total process management system include the following.

Operational control demands emphasis on the use of procedures to control the work at the process resource input and design stages. Critical to understanding process improvement and incident-accident prevention is understanding the management system and the elements of the system that are causing process non-conformance and incidents.

The concept of multiple root cause analysis and the tools for process non-conformance or incident investigations, including the need to document the total costs of non-conformance (direct and indirect costs), will need to part of any credible management system. Until management understands the financial impact of substandard process design/execution and the benefits of process change communicated in financial terms such as "return on investment", "payback period", very little will be accomplished. Otherwise, "Band Aides" will be applied to the process enhancement or corrective/action effort. This will be especially critical for the safety and health managers who have historically relied on reporting accident frequency.

Identifying the causes of process non-conformance and sharing lessons learned to correct/prevent a reoccurrence is one of the most important tools supervisors and managers will have on the path to continual improvement. If you know what went wrong and why without blaming employees you can improve the process and prevent a reoccurrence. I also believe that audits, and the follow-up of corrective actions, will be critical to successfully implementing any management system.

We need to get away from stand-alone safety or environmental programs and policies and instead need to ask ourselves the following questions.

Over the past 15–20 years mangers have been bombarded with a variety of management programs and processes, including ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems and ISO 14000 environmental management processes. In addition there has been a variety of safety systems (some legislated) and an assortment of quality or process management programs.

If you look to the European Union, and the United Kingdom in particular, you see regulatory bodies adopting the ISO framework for EH&S. This trend can be seen in other countries around the world such as New Zealand and Australia, and it clearly reflects a different approach to our prescriptive regulatory approach taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA. An example of a management system approach can also be seen in the draft OHSAS 18001 standard.

A management system is intended to help facilities establish processes, procedures, and metrics that allow them to perform tasks right the first time (including safety), within budget, and on time, and with no rework, redundant procedures, injuries, or environmental liability. Companies may need technical experts to help them with specific technical issues around QEH&S, however integration of these systems is quite feasible.

IMS’s will be critical to the success and competitive posture of companies. In the future, management must align its resources (people, tools/equipment, facilities and maintenance, procedures, materials, vendors/contractors, training, and supervision) to optimize QEH&S performance.

Oftentimes, programs or processes have their roots in the works of Deming and Juran, or in systems safety, which originated with the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). For those unfamiliar with systems safety, this process is not focused simply on worker safety. Systems safety includes an assortment of risk assessment tools that help management identify and, to the extent possible, quantify potential process risks and to ensure operational readiness. This process could include evaluating business risks as well as the risk of environmental contamination or injury to employees or customers.

Another problem in some organizations is their tendency to focus on regulatory compliance versus process management. Some organizations have implemented a management system only to become frustrated with it or question its value as they focus on documentation versus process management.

This assessment does not mean that you should ignore regulations or documentation. You must conform to both, however, regulatory and documentation conformance should be a byproduct of good process management and not the primary focus of the management system.

Unfortunately we have too often created confusion in the workplace by not consistently sticking to a chosen plan for process or quality improvement. We have jumped from Deming to Crosby’s cost of quality, TQM, and/or reengineering. Some versions of these quality programs have been adopted internationally in ISO quality and environmental standards. As mentioned earlier, some countries have been adopting versions of ISO as a management system standard for EH&S.

The reason ISO has become so popular globally is that, just like common thread sizes on bolts, managers of multi-site or global operations have recognized that having multiple systems is dysfunctional. Also, the corporations may create additional liability by not consistently applying corporate policy. The biggest problem for managers is that, like specifying thread sizes on bolts to ensure consistency and sustained delivery of these products, common management measurements and language are needed. Too often we tend to adopt metrics and language to describe various programs that are not consistent, or we tend to fragment process management into artificial compartments such as quality, environmental, or occupational health and safety. Another reason management systems have become popular is because they are seen as a way to control the escalating costs of process non-conformance. Six Sigma, the newest and most rigorous of systems, has a goal of defect elimination, or no more than 3.4 defects per 1,000,000 opportunities.

All accidents nationwide cost ~3% of the gross national product (GNP). When this loss is expressed in medical expenses, lost wages, insurance claims, production delays, and equipment downtime, it significantly reduces business productivity and profitability. A more costly problem that would often be related to the same management control issues is rework, which would easily more than double the injury losses. Similarly the United Kingdom estimates that accidents wipe out 5–10% of industrial trading profits annually (View Point, Corporate Cash Flow, April 1995).

Potentially more costly problems, which can often be related to the same management control issues, are quality or rework, and environmental liability that can again easily more than double the losses due to workplace injuries. Indirect costs associated with incidents range from 4 to 10 times the direct costs of wage loss and medical cost, greatly increasing the significance of this type of process failure.

The problem oftentimes is attributed to a lack of understanding of process management, coupled with our tendency to compartmentalize process quality, safety, and environmental management. Who benefits by this fragmentation?—the line supervisor, production management, or the specialists who manage these departments? Too often these program managers consider these processes to be the center of their corporate universe, and their peers’ goals to be less important, failing to take advantage of the opportunity to work together.

We need to back up and look at work processes from our internal customer’s perspective, as well as the line supervisor’s and work center employee’s. As a senior manager or manager of a quality system or EH&S program ask yourself the following questions. What is the line manager or supervisor’s primary mandate or concern? What is senior management holding the supervisor accountable for? At the end of the day is management accountable not only to its external customers and shareholders but also to its internal customers, supervisors, and community stakeholders?

True understanding and appreciation of their internal and external customers and the summation of incremental improvements over time are what sustain companies and their profit margins. "Sustained focus on these values and objectives" must be the management mantra for the new millennium. Too many companies lack focus on process management and have conflicting objectives, as is evident in redundant and multiple management systems for QEH&S. The other problem contributing to lack of focus is when leaders delegate responsibility and are not actively involved in the process enhancement system. Too often it is believed that the EH&S manager or the quality manager can cover the same territory as hundreds of supervisors.

Why is it that QEH&S programs oftentimes appear to be the responsibility of the quality or EH&S department or a distant corporate entity versus the production manager who controls the work process? Why is it that workplace process control instruction or designs oftentimes fail to include QEH&S? Why aren’t quality managers and EH&S working more closely together?

Does the concept of continuous improvement apply only to production rework? Why wouldn’t you consider environmental damage or employee injuries a process failure? Quality failures often have safety and environmental implications. After all aren’t our employees our most important cutting-edge resource, or do we see them as disposable and easily replaced? Through painful experience and financial consequences many companies have learned that environmental quality control is necessary to eliminate potential liabilities that can cause the financial failure of a company, not to mention potential criminal liability. In fairness to operations managers, too many safety or EH&S managers have not understood how to address process issues effectively, especially in financial terms.

These questions may seem sarcastic or even negative, but they are intended to highlight the dangerous attitudes exhibited by some managers and supervisors who don’t understand process control. If any company in today’s global market expects to be competitive it must be willing to consider integrating its quality and EH&S management systems. EH&S managers must also learn more about quality management and communicating to production and financial managers in terms that they understand. Changing metrics and reporting losses or risks in financial terms, or considering returns on investment when recommending process controls or process changes, is critical if we expect to bridge the gap between production, quality, and EH&S management.

 

What are we trying to do with an integrated QEH&S Management System?

Managers of most mature companies understand the need for a quality management process. Industrial managers and developers by now know the risk associated with mismanagement of hazardous materials and waste. The difficulty has been how do you do it, which process TQM, Deming, Juran, or Crosby. Etc.

In many ways environmental issues appear to be the most difficult because of the technical complexity associated with re-mediation projects or the design of new chemical processes. Then there is occupational health and safety that many managers think is out of their control. They believe many injury claims are fraudulent but difficult to prove, or that the employee was careless. If they only had more conscientious employees the safety problem would go away! In reality 80–85% of the process failures, including injuries, are caused by process common and multiple root cause, variations built into the process by the existing management system.

The typical company spends one week per employee to implement a TQM program. The biggest mistake is a failure to focus on a critical few issues, and too much emphasis is focused on documentation and regulatory compliance versus process and task management. The average PET has five people and their compensation averages $50/hr. They will also utilize 250–750 hours to solve problems at a cost of $7,500–$22,500. The PET must be focused and working on prioritized projects, and the critical elements of work processes causing nojn-conformances. Parietos Principal appears to apply here.

One of the objectives of this paper, and my recently published book "Organizational Mastery" is to show managers that all of these processes are under their control, and that there is tremendous benefit to integrating the management process for controlling these risks. Using ISO 14001/9001, I hope to convince you that a common process management system QEH&S integrated and built on ISO can be very powerful. The ISO standards and their various derivatives provide a framework consisting of a number of interconnected process management tools and services organized to integrate quality and EH&S management.

The ultimate goal is to reduce time to perform tasks and to create added efficiency while reducing costs, waste, and personnel injuries. Qualitative risk assessments and detailed fault tree or systems analysis are needed, but in many instances they should be used only after passing through the sieve of the qualitative risk assessment. A qualitative risk assessment involve employees and other stakeholders and in most instances allows management to quickly identify, assess, and establish a plan to eliminate or control process risks.

William B. Smith, Vice President for Quality Assurance for Motorola, pointed out the value of employee involvement (e.g., quality circles, and process enhancement teams or in processes such as the qualitative risk assessments). It should also be noted that, like the statistical quality control process used widely by the military-industrial complex during World War II, quality circles were also widely used; but like the quality improvement process it did not survive post-war industrialization in the United States but was reinvented in Japan. In Smith’s speech to the National Private Truck Council, he stated:

"In the Motorola experience it was found that 91% of problems were hidden from general management. The general manager was aware of only 4% of problems on the production floor. General supervision was only a little better off, being aware of 9% of the problems. The largest gap in the information flow appeared between the production supervisors and general supervision. Line supervision was credited with being aware of 74% of the problems. Not surprising, the workers were found to be aware of 100% of the problems."

Smith’s statement is a compelling reason to ensure that your most valuable resource, your employees, is heavily involved in the QEH&S process.

Ten years ago California implemented legislation that attempted to require some elements of a process management system for safety. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted legislation (Senator Bill Greene’s Accident Injury Program Legislation SB-l98) on October 2, 1989, requiring management to evaluate processes, perform risk assessments, and develop management plans to mitigate the identified risks.

OSHA’s proposed safety management standard and VPP programs reflect a growing understanding that QMS’s approaches to safety 101 is much more effective than prescriptive-type regulations. In addition, countries around the world such as Australia and New Zealand have adopted an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management systems based on the ’United Kingdom’s BS 8800 standard. We also have a draft occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system standard that was developed with input from several counties and organizations using the ’BS 8800 standard as a model. This draft could ultimately become the model for, and the ISO standard or elements of it could be incorporated into an IMS Standard.

European Union requirements mandate management audits and r risk assessments of facility programs, and ultimately the design of programs to reduce or eliminate risk. In Europe the regulators expect companies to evaluate their facility and process design and to control their processes through well-thought-out risk assessments and mitigation plans that can form the foundation of an OH&S management system. In Australia, some states require self-insured companies to implement a process called safety map, which is harmonized with ISO 9000.

OSHA is promulgating an OH&S programs standard 29 CFR 1910.700 with provisions similar to OSHA’s voluntary guidelines. The standard requires employers to identify and control work-site hazards and to involve employees in all phases of the program. Marthe Kent, Director of OSHA’s Office of Regulatory Analysis, stated that "If OSHA had it to do over again, this would probably be the first standard we would promulgate because it truly provides employers and employees with the foundation for workplace safety and health…our evidence suggests that companies that implement effective safety and health programs can expect reductions of 20% or greater in their injury and illness rates and a return of $4 –$6 for every $1 invested."

Companies with ISO 9000 or ISO 14000 programs are starting to evaluate harmonizing worker safety and health into these programs and, to the extent possible, integrating the management aspects of these quality and environmental management programs.

There is really nothing terribly significant about ISO Management System Standards, nothing new in them, except the fact that there is a consensus on the elements contained in the standard. The value of the ISO standards is that they give companies a common foundation to discuss, and evaluate the minimum expectations in a competently designed and executed system.

The common elements establish the benchmarks for expected quality and EH&S performance. It is for these reasons that I am an advocate for including occupational health and safety in the systems, and to the extent possible integrating them. This in no way means that you will not have a need for specific environmental, quality, or safety requirements, or technical resources because you will. What it does mean is that these resources will be used more effectively. Your focus will be on prioritizing "Enterprise Risk" and in controlling the systemic causes of process nonconformance which will in most cases eliminate or reduce quality, environmental liability and safety risks by correcting the multiple root causes of process failures. All management systems including Deming, Juran, and Crosby have common principals that are identified below, and which are discussed and compared in more detail in this chapter.

Table 1 is provided to show how the quality improvement principals defined by Deming are consistent with ISO Standards and good QEH&S management principals.

 

Quality Management -TQM (Key Deming-Crosby Steps)

vs.

Safety Program Management, table 1

Quality

OH&S & Environmental

Management commitment & organizational constancy of purpose

Same

Adopt New Management Philosophy including Crosby's 4 Absolutes:

• Quality is conformance to requirements (defined by the customer (internal and external, and defined in process requirements, training, etc.)

• The system of Quality is prevention

• The performance standard is zero defects, 100% conformance to defined standard or process requirements

• The measurement of Quality is the "Price of Non-Conformance" (direct & indirect cost) & frequency rates

Same

Must have a management system for continuous improvement. Constantly improve the system for product or service delivery. Do not depend on inspections alone to achieve quality

Same

Institute formal training and On The Job Training (OJT), coaching and mentoring, self improvement for: Process Improvement which includes Quality, Safety, & Environmental requirements

Same

Leadership: Create open – trusting environment

Same

Drive out fear

Same

Breakdown barriers between departments and internal customers understand the concept of which your customer is.

Same

Understand & Implement process for "Error Cause Removal"; identify the multiple root causes of process failure

Same

Employee involvement: Quality Action or Improvement Teams

Safety Committee or Quality Improvement Team

Eliminate slogans

Same

Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation

Same

Other Deming requirements include:

    • End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price alone
    • Eliminate management by objective
    • Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker their right to pride of workmanship
    • Remove barriers that rob people in management their right to pride of workmanship

 

 

Principle 1: Commitment and Policy

Principle 2: Planning

Principle 3: Implementation (operational and risk control)

Principle 4: Measurement and Evaluation

Principle 5: Management review and Improvement

These principals are specifically discussed in the United Kingdom’s standard BS 8800, Australian/New Zealand Occupational Health and Safety Management System Draft Standard, (1996). They are also covered in ISO 14001 and found in a different context in ISO 9001, TQM, and the multitude of quality and EH&S management system standards emerging around the world. They are the foundation of any good management system.

 

Principle 1. Commitment and policy. An organization should define its process control policy to ensure commitment to the management system. Execution of management’s policy should be evident in internal documents and procedures, including management, supervisors, and staff training. The policies should include conformance to regulatory requirements, systematic risk assessments and process control evaluations.

 

Principle 2. Planning. An organization should plan to fulfill its process control policy, goals, and objectives. This plan should include review of facility, tool, and equipment process readiness or applicability. It should also include the review or development of well-defined process control instruction for hazardous operations. Process management requires evaluation of assigned supervisors and staff to ensure competency to perform work or that they have available and use of correct procedures, tools, etc. Roles and responsibilities must also be clearly defined to ensure implementation and adherence to policy and standard operating procedures (SOPs).. Inherent in this stage is the need to perform risk assessments that enable prioritizing and focusing the planning process.

 

Principle 3. Implementation and Operational or Risk Control. For effective implementation, an organization should develop the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve its OHS policy, objectives, and targets. Policy should be posted and clearly communicated to all managers, supervisors, and employees. Action plans and target dates or milestones must be established and monitored to ensure plan execution. Controls start with systems review and risk assessments at the design and planning stages and include all resources applied to the process: people, purchasing, supervision/management, tools, equipment, facilities, raw materials/parts or components, maintenance, and communications, including training, and procedures. These key categories of process resource input provide the tools and create the process or work environment for producing goods and services. They are also the source of the multiple root causes of process failure creating nonconformance and forcing employees to adopt substandard behaviors that ultimately lead to on-the-job injuries, process failures, and rework.

Increasingly, operational management must evaluate the capability of contractors or sub-contractors to deliver needed products or services. Also, managers will need to develop emergency response and contingency plans to eliminate or reduce the potential for losses.

 

Principle 4. Measurement and evaluation. An organization should measure, monitor, and evaluate its process performance and take preventative and corrective action. This approach must include the identifying of multiple root causes of nonconformance accidents or process failure, determining appropriate process control, corrective actions, and sharing the lessons learned with other parts of the facility or organization. This practice could include behavioral job observations, audits, inspections, and safety and industrial hygiene surveys or systems reviews, including job–task analysis or systems safety reviews. Behavioral performance management or safety observations can be a critical element of this process, providing proactive measurements of systems performance versus reactive measurements such as those from accident reports or employee–customer complaints.

Benchmarking, measurement, and evaluation are essential for program success. Benchmarking compares performance against target industries, companies, and processes internal or external to the company. It is the standard against which managers measure their operations performance.

Benchmarking is always important, and there are various ways to approach this aspect. One way is to define your own meaningful benchmark, for example, benchmark against your self, other facilities, or your industry. However, in establishing benchmarks, it is important that the costs of nonconformance or accidents be much more accurately documented, including direct and indirect costs associated with losses or rework. Indirect cost must be accounted for, as they will almost certainly exceed direct cost and are oftentimes not recognized.

 

 

The Hidden Cost of Accidents, figure 2

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Impact to Profits, figure 3

Example: At 10% Profit Margin
$15,000 loss (direct cost)
4:1 ratio of indirect to direct costs, causes $60,000 indirect costs

A facility will need $75,000 in additional sales to make up this loss!

 

Principle 5. Management review and improvement. An organization should regularly review and improve its process management system, with the objective of continual process improvement, progressive risk reduction, and complying with relevant standards or guidelines. If the system is not being fully executed or is not generating expected results, then additional management attention and changes in process direction or design will be necessary to improve the system, including the establishment of new or revised goals and objectives.

 

Elements of ISO 9000-14000 that are consistent with Demings’s 14 Principals

ISO 9001/14001 Harmonized Management Systems

ISO harmonized systems provide for continuous improvement and are sufficiently flexible to include safety.

The ISO was established in 1947 to create international standards for the manufacturing of products that would be used by customers in different countries. International managers realized that the cost and duplication of effort by not having standardized methods could be significant. In the late 1980s ISO decided that this same principle applied equally to the management of quality and environmental systems.

Effective EH&S or QMS’s have four stakeholders with their respective needs or corporate goals for improvement. These typically include:

Shareholder: Profitable growth

Society: Benefit —value, positive economic and environmental impact

Customer: Higher product/service quality at a lower cost

Employee: Contribution, dignity, and quality of life

Because ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 draw from the same quality principals taught by Deming and Juran, it is relatively easy to integrate them. These systems make it much easier for multi-site and, more important, multi-national companies to consistently execute effective EH&S and QMS’s. Companies cannot afford the redundancy and its associated costs caused by multiple and fragmented systems around the globe. In addition, most corporate council will advise their boards that inconsistent implementation of policy will create potential liability for them in the event of a serious accident.

It can be reasonably expected that more companies will integrate their QEH&S programs as they become more familiar with their ISO management systems and see the opportunity to more efficiently include workplace safety as an integral element of their system. Internationally, regulators and corporations are regarding the American (U.S. OSHA) prescriptive approach to standard enforcement, although necessary in some cases, as not as effective as performance improvement based on a management system that allows managers to better understand and control process risks.

One of the primary difficulties created by the fragmentation of these process management systems is competition for scarce resources and management or involvement in the systems. Process control fragmentation ultimately creates three different teams (safety, quality, environmental) evaluating critical work processes. Each of these separate process control teams requires the supervisors’ and work centers’ time commitments for process improvement and support of systems for QEH&S risk reduction. This requirement results in poor utilization and ineffective or duplicated efforts of facility resources. Many times this inefficiency frustrates supervisors who feel the pressure of budget and schedule demands and it results in passive support or in some cases malicious compliance for processes they don’t believe directly support this focus.

Most organizations need to address these questions as part of their quality or EH&S planning efforts. What do the supervisor and manager need? How can we make EH&S a seamless component of process management and quality control? What can employees do to reduce rework, waste, duplication of material or package handling, package damage or loss, and injuries? What tools are needed? What are the life cycle risks associated with a product, including the cost of post use disposal?

Multi-national corporations are demanding consistent global facility management, and at the same time they expect their organization to improve its competitive position in the marketplace. Thoughtfully designed systems or process management, including the integration of QEH&S, can help companies realize this goal.

It can be reasonably expected that more companies will integrate their QEH&S programs as they become more familiar with their ISO management systems and see the opportunity to more efficiently include workplace safety as an integral element of the system. The big three automobile manufacturers’ QS 9000 QMS based on ISO 9000 illustrates how seriously some large companies are taking ISO management systems. This standard is required for all vendors providing parts and services to these manufactures. In addition Ford and GM both announced in December 1999 that vendors would be required to comply with ISO 14001.

The emphasis of ISO harmonized process management systems is an attempt to develop controls that do not rely excessively on the behavior of people. More emphasis is placed on process management or systems safety, ensuring that the work environment and all of its critical elements outlined in Figure 3 are designed and executed in a way that ensures process conformance. In addition, an underlying expectation is that in the event of nonconformance or process failure, managers will identify the multiple root causes of the failure or accident before developing corrective and preventive actions.

Managers analyze and evaluate the supervisor’s process from their biased expertise. The ultimate result is that the supervisor becomes frustrated and returns to focusing on more immediate and certain pressures such as budget and schedule. Process control fragmentation caused by disjointed QEH&S program implementation will tend to cause supervisor overload and weak commitment to QEH&S. This tendency is especially true when the supervisors have not received adequate training. Training of all management and employee levels must be supported and should include technical, system, and managerial training. The supervisor is a very important element of process control and is in effect the gatekeeper for process control management. The supervisor is both the internal and external provider of customer service that includes employees.

Table 1 outlines the common elements of most QMS’s, including those of Deming, Juran, Crosby, and—more recently—Total Quality Management (TQM). Table 1 also compares some of the major elements of most QMS’s, with similar requirements in any well-developed OH&S Management System.

As you can see the requirements outlined here are very similar to what is required in ISO management systems and TQM. The lesson to be learned is that by integrating their quality and environmental health and safety (EH&S) systems, management will significantly leverage the effectiveness of its efforts and resource utilization.

 

Conclusion:

Understanding "process management" and "systems safety" are critical to identifying process or business risk. I will once again emphasize that systems safety is a process for understanding work processes and that it establishes a system for identifying the risks associated with that process. Please note that this emphasis does not mean that systems safety is strictly a safety tool, it is a management tool, and does not and should not be considered a tool only for the corporate safety engineer or safety consultant.

Operations managers must manage the process and rely on the EH&S managers or technical consultants; systems safety can be an invaluable tool for helping them understand their processes or system risks. Experience performing only OSHA-type regulatory audits will not be enough to qualify an auditor to perform competent management system audits. In addition, the use of audits is critical to understanding the level of systems, process, or program conformance. To be successful, however, an auditor must understand process management, how to ask the right questions, and how or what to appropriately review as documentation. Your best auditors will have good technical and managerial skills.

From a more simplistic perspective, think of the efficiency and increased cooperation that can be realized among supervisors by discontinuing the fragmentation of process management into quality, environmental, and safety. After 25 years I have never investigated or reviewed an investigation of a serious process failure, injury, or fatality that did not evolve multiple root causes in the management system. The investigations also demonstrated such an incident result, at times generated environmental liability. The direct and indirect costs of these related impacts are many times not well documented and therefore do not attract the management attention they deserve.

An effective OH&S program is good management and should be viewed as part of the employer’s overall quality assurance program. Real productivity is the balance between striving for excellence and protecting human resources. The chairman of the board, president, and general manger of the company or facility must give priority to environmental health and safety control programs. Managers must take this responsibility as seriously as they do meeting schedules, producing superior products or controlling other corporate losses.

Integrated Process Quality and EH&S (QEH&S) Program Benefits

One of the key considerations is that the goals of an OH&S, EH&S, or QMS are all the same. All three are trying to establish a system of performance standards, and first time/every time conformance to those standards, thus ensuring customer and stakeholder satisfaction, maximization of profits, and minimal process risk, or less. Organizations with effective IMS should be better able to control process risk and ensure customer satisfaction. Decision-making will be improved, and the level of management participation in identifying and controlling process and production risks significantly enhanced.

An IMS offers organizations the opportunity to improve among other thing business effectiveness, as well as QEH&S performance. The process of implementing a system, however, will require significant management commitment and organizational effort.

To advance, management systems must require that companies’ establish or document processes to review/investigate process failure, rework, and/or incident/accidents. These review procedures should include process nonconformance or incident multiple root cause analysis, systems readiness, cost of non- conformance, and system for ensuring that appropriate corrective actions are implemented and followed-up, including sharing of lessons learned with "stakeholders." In addition, effective performance measurement tools and management systems are necessary.

The bottom line is that the smart process or quality management system cannot treat safety as a separate issue. Therefore, effective programs will integrate quality and EH&S (QEH&S). One of the objectives of this paper, and my book is too show managers that all of these processes are under their control, and that there is tremendous benefit to integrating the management process for controlling these risks. Using ISO 14001/9001, I hope to convince you that a common process management system QEH&S integrated and built on ISO can be very powerful.