Auditing 6.4 Work Environment


Quite Involved in Discussions
Here's a question seeking opinions:

Are manufacturing areas that are kept in a "pig sty" manner a "violation" of the Work Environment clause?

There are areas within my company where "Good Housekeeping" is a foreign phrase. Components have been lost in this area and I suspect that some damage to in-process products has also occurred.

To me, auditing both 6.3 and 6.4 is difficult due to the generality of the clauses. It seems like if you don't find product that is bursting into flames or sitting in three inches of rainwater, or the company is not run out of a refrigerator box there is conformance.
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No worry

Don’t let this one get ya down. I am a proponent of housekeeping because I have proven that it saves money. Say no to pig sty’s I say. Yet, it’s your gig. However, if even under sloppy conditions you are able to produce parts that meet your customers’ requirements, I dare an auditor to write me up. Here’s another angle. Do you comply with OSHA, state and other regulatory audits ? If it’s good enough for OSHA, it’s good enough for an audit team. Also, how’s your safety program ? If you have a good safety record, meet regulatory requirements and make good parts, even in a pool of water, you’re good to go. Don’t sweat this one and for God’s sake and don’t write a procedure or instruction to pin yourself in a corner. You’ll do fine !
Work environment

Here is my take. If the work environment has a negative impact on product, or customer satisfaction, then I would write against the appropriate section. For example:

One of your processes is painting. The painting environment is not controlled, and it is not unusual for foreign material to collect on the newly painted surface. The failure to control the environment has resulted in a nonconformity.

A different example: You visit my office and notice my desk. It is filled with several boxes and piles of paper. Yet, I can tell you where everything is (I really need a filing cabinet). The apparent workplace disorganization does not impact my job, or my customer’s satisfaction. Like me, it may not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

Bill Ryan - 2007


Work environment is related to product and most will call out specific work environment requirements on their print
Please expand. I have never seen "work environment" mentioned or spelled out on a print.:confused:

I have seen the difference "good housekeeping" can make on our shop floor with respect to attitude. The better kept up the operator's workplace the better his/her attitude and that carries right over to their "sense of pride" in producing a "quality" part.

Meeting the standard aside, my take on housekeeping is that if you run a "pigsty" and your customer has a tour of your floor, you just won't get that customer's business.


Quite Involved in Discussions
several of our prints call out specific temps humidity levels that the product should be produced under. We address this by saying our work environment is suitable for the product produced and that if it is not we will do it or get a deviation, of which we have on most. Using 9004 will expand this,but using the 00 (work environment needed to achieve product requirements).


Dave's given some good examples of work environment and the possible impact on product requirements. And housekeeping is often used as an example of what this clause is referring to. But I've been told that it is not that narrow; that it also encompasses the "creature comforts" of the people who produce the product.

For instance, our crews work on vessels and they work 12 hour shifts. Their sleep is important to them, so the sound levels in the sleeping compartments are monitored and acoustic panels added if it is too loud. We see it as a quality and safety issue because a sleepy person won't be able to work as well.

We also air condition the control vans they work in, and we order headphone sets to help them hear each other's commands over the boat noise, etc.

These are just a few examples, but thought I would toss them out there. I think that the full intent of the clause may be missed if it is only directed towards housekeeping type duties.


An expensive lesson

A testimonial about housekeeping. One of my former automotive company’s was ran by an arrogant slob who thought no one else in North America was capable manufacturing car parts. As long as the margins are that high, and the customers aren’t shut down, who cares if the plant is a pigsty. From my first day, I was alarmed of not only the messiness and clutter, but also the unsafe conditions. After many attempts, my voice was not heard. This disgusting facility raised a lot of suspicion about the integrity of the Quality System for a foreign car company when they were evaluating us as a potential supplier. They professionally conveyed that if the housekeeping were not improved, they couldn’t risk doing business with us. Within the disorder, they also found incomplete records and gauges out of calibration that though were apparent oversights, would have never been detected had the facility been in order. There words were laughed at, literally by our President. 30 days later, they came back for a follow up audit and immediately ceased a multi-million $ opportunity. It will get you every time. Clean up your plants for yourself and your people and never put the company is a risky situation. Can we ditch all the ridiculous standards and incorporate some common sense for crying out loud ? Good day to all.:bonk:

Roger Eastin

I think the key to this clause is that you have to manage the work environment to "achieve conformity to product requirements". This can have a narrow definition in that the work environment immediately around the work area has to allow the person doing the work (in a manual operation) to achieve product conformance. You could say that only proper lighting and some ergonomic factors are all that is needed for this. I agree that there could be many other areas that impact work environment, but do those areas impact the ability of the process to achieve product conformity?

Chris May

As far as I was concerned, the working environment to achieve product conformance requirements were ONLY aimed at the product realisation process. (!?)

As we are manufacturing elctronic goods these are ESD (static), and the calibration lab is maintained a a constant temp/humidity level via its own HVAC system.

Having just refreshed myself on 6.4 (didn't take long...almost missed it), it is interesting to note that it is under the Human Resources banner, so are they (ISO) implying Health & Safety, Ergonomics etc in order to promote "Happy Bunnies" at the workplace ??

One could ponder on the fact that the "work environment" could cover everything such as the approach road, car park, reception, decor (sick building syndrome?), supplied workwear, restroom, locker facilities..........aaaggghhh!!!

Maybe 6.4 was an afterthought just thrown in by ISO.

Anyway, we have a H&S committee, a Facilities Dept and myself and some Prod Engs (ESD, Temp etc) so maybe thats it.............................


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