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Quality Management for Work Health and Safety

When it comes to building a rigorous Work Health and Safety Management System, Quality Control takes on a far greater and more critical function than just happy customers and business success.

The health and safety of workers, customers and visitors may depend on the soundness of the system, total commitment by all staff to WHS practices and processes, and continuous monitoring of the WHS management system for both effectivenes and compliance to commitments and regulations.

Whilst there are specific standards for building and maintaining a WHS (or OHS) Management System, such as AS/NZS 4801:2001, we believe that applying the standard (and its AS/ANZ 4804 Guidelines) can be strengthened alongside a robust organisational QMS, based on ISO 9001:2008 (or ISO 9001:2015).  This can be illustrated simply by mapping practices in both standards to a PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) quality cycle.

This PDCA cycle is not intended to over-simplify the necessary complexity of many Work, Health and Safety management systems, nor list all the steps and practices required a each stage of the PDCA continual improvement cycle. What it does do is illustrate many of the essential steps and practices from a typical implementation of both standards, in parallel with each other in the PDCA cycle.

In particular, we believe that the Document and Record Control elements of ISO 9001, plus the requirement for "Preventative Action" strengthen the WHS system and periodical Risk Assessmet process, by advocating constant vigilance by all staff for "weaknesses" and potential hazards.  This should be coupled with a far more flexible Incident Reporting system which allows staff to raise cases of suspected flaws and potential risks at all stages of company operations, where impacts may be to health and safety.  This would apply to both staff, visiting customers and product end users.


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