Continual (Continuous) Improvement - Different Standards, different requirements

S

samsung

#1
I know of 3 management systems (9001, 14001 & 18001) professing the need for a commitment of Continual Improvement in the organizations' Policy Statement but all spell it out differently.

Let's see the requirements as stipulated:

9001:2008
b) includes a commitment to comply with requirements and continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system,
14001:2004
b) includes a commitment to continual improvement and prevention of pollution,
(understandably it implies 'of the EMS')

& OHSAS 18001:2007
b) includes a commitment to prevention of injury and ill health and continual improvement in OH&S management and OH&S performance;
Now the questions here are:

1. Whilst 9001 requires to continually improve the 'EFFECTIVENESS' of the QMS, why the other two standards assert for continually improving the respective management systems as a whole (not the effectiveness of) ?

2. OHSAS goes one step further to place one more requirement - continual improvement in OH&S performance in addition to improving the OH&S management. Can an OH&SMS be improved without improving the OH&S performance ?

3. What is the real difference between the two phrases - 'improving the effectiveness of the system' and having (or making) an 'effective system' ?

4. What would you commit in your 'integrated policy' in order to address 'continual Improvement' ?

These may probably sound silly yet I can anticipate some convincing replies.

Thanks.
 
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N

Nyack

#2
There is no difference, it is just looking at the management system from two different sides.

If the OH&S MS is effective intrinsically performance is improved as performance measuring includes measurements of management effectiveness.

1) I do not believe there to be a significant reason. (Edit: because QMS is mostly quantitative, where 14001/18001 can be intangible where improvements can be made that are not easily measured. For example, improved employee productivity/happiness.)

2) (See my post below).

3) Having an 'effective system' simply means you have achieved the intents, 'improving the effectiveness' indicates making changes that fulfill the intents further.

4) I think, no matter what, you should commit to your policy what would be the clearest thing to you and your colleagues.

<Company> is committed to continually improving our OH&S MS. (This means achieving both the following in my opinion.)
<Company> is committed to continually improving MS performance
<Company> is committed to continually improving MS effectiveness

[Disclaimer: Now I probably would not take my opinions here as fact, but I think I have been reasonably thorough and logical in my assertions.]
 
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D

DrM2u

#3
Here are my thoughts in addition to Nyack's:

1) Two of the performance aspects of a system are efficiency and effectiveness. A system can be effective but not necesarily efficient. To me improving a system implies improving one or both of the two. I prefer improving the system over improving system's effectiveness because is more encompasing. Sometimes you have to look at the intent of the standards and past the words.

2) I have seem many systems being managed but not all of them were improving in performance. For example I had a consulting client that was content with their performance and had no desire to expand or increase the business. They managed the system effectively and efficiently without continual improvement. Now I am not sure what is the meaning of "continual improvement in OH&S management and OH&S performance" but I believe that any improvement actions should lead to an improvement in the bottom line. At the same time I believe that the intent of any standard is that an effective system drives improvement within the organization.

3) Having an effective system means that the system is able to achieve the desired results to a certain degree, while improving the effectiveness means improving how well the desired results are met. Kind of 'meeting and exceeding customers' expectations". :D

4) I would commit to continuously improve the organization by maintaining effective quality, environmental and OH&S systems.
 
S

samsung

#4
Thanks DrM2U for your response. I believe that the following statement addresses the Q.#3 somewhat convincingly:
3) Having an effective system means that the system is able to achieve the desired results to a certain degree, while improving the effectiveness means improving how well the desired results are met. Kind of 'meeting and exceeding customers' expectations".
But as far as OHSAS is concerned, the continual improvement, in particular, in the OH&S performance seems to be a different territory than what it is perceived as. The OH&S performance as defined by the standard
3.15
OH&S performance
measurable results of an organization’s (3.17) management of its OH&S risks (3.21)
NOTE 1 OH&S performance measurement includes measuring the effectiveness of the organization’s controls.

NOTE 2 In the context of OH&S management systems (3.13), results can also be measured against the organization’s (3.17) OH&S policy (3.16), OH&S objectives (3.14), and other OH&S performance requirements.
So the standard seems to require the organizations to
1. Demonstrate measurable improvement in 'Risk Management' including improvement of the effectiveness of 'control measures' leading to continual reduction in OHS risks (either 'probability' or 'consequence')

2. Simultaneous improvement in other OHS management aspects like planning, organizational structure, procedures, processes, methodology of risk assessment etc.

There's one more reference (4.2 18002:2008) indicating the need to consider these two aspects separately and ensure continual improvement in each of the two areas, i.e.; OH&S Performance and OH&SMS
The policy is, as a minimum, required to include statements about the commitment of an organization to:
—the prevention of injury and ill health,
continual improvement in OH&S management,
continual improvement in OH&S performance,
—compliance with applicable legal requirements, and
—compliance with other requirements to which the organization subscribes.
4) I would commit to continuously improve the organization by maintaining effective quality, environmental and OH&S systems.
Based on the above description, it also appears that one has to make a clear policy commitment for continual improvement in OH&S performance in addition to what you mentioned above.

Let's wait for more inputs from the subject experts. I just need to make sure that this particular requirement, as spelled out differently in different standards, even if perceived as 'identical' in nature & essence, will not make any big difference so long as the certification status (at the minimum) is concerned.
 
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N

Nyack

#5
*** Edited my first post based on new information (for any future readers). ***

18002:2000 (I think these are clearer than the new definitions):

3.13
performance
measurable results of the OH&S management system, related to the organization's control of health and safety risks, based on OH&S policy and objectives
NOTE Performance measurement includes measurement of OH&S management activities and results

4.2 (just the one line in 18002:2000, less confusing in my opinion.)
a)
-b) include a commitment to continual improvement
2000 -> 2008 obviously changed this, and I wonder why since it was never a problem in my opinion.

Last Edit:
OH&S Effectiveness is the measure of OH&S Performance as a result of implementing OH&S Management System.

Last Note:
I think you should avoid complicating this - your first audit (or pre-first-audit) will determine the areas for continual improvement anyway.
 
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S

samsung

#6
18002:2000 (I think these are clearer than the new definitions):
As you know, the current version of OHSAS is 18001:2007 which says that for any reference whatsoever, the latest version of 18002 should be consulted. (the 1999 version was canceled way back and replaced with 2007) So, even if the earlier definition was 'clearer', we have to go by with the current definition only.

4.2 (just the one line in 18001:2000, less confusing in my opinion.)
For me, '18001:2000' is more confusing. :read:
I think you should avoid complicating this - your first audit (or pre-first-audit) will determine the areas for continual improvement anyway.
I'm just trying to understand what came as complicated to me & that's the reason I posted the question to seek expert opinion. However, our first audit of OHSAS was done as back as in 2000. 'Continual' means at 'regular' or 'recurring' intervals, so IMO, it's not one time affair as mentioned by you; i.e.; the first audit.
 
N

Nyack

#7
'Continual' means at 'regular' or 'recurring' intervals, so IMO, it's not one time affair as mentioned by you; i.e.; the first audit.
I guess I should seek to be perfectly clear in my sentences, as a result, this misinterpretation could have been avoided. I never meant to say it is a one time affair, nor alluded to it as such. "...your first audit (or pre-first-audit) will determine the areas for continual improvement anyway..." did not insinuate that continual improvements will not be made to your continual improvements. Thus what was said in context refered to immediate advice on implementation and not to signify that this statement was relevant to all stages of planning regarding continual improvements. I concede that I should have added initially to create the following advice:

Your first audit (or pre-first-audit) will INITIALLY determine the areas for continual improvement anyway.


I have made a mistake with 18001:2000 which has now been modified to 18002:2000. A lack of precision rather unfortuitous given the pedantic nature of this thread. :)


So I stand corrected, and as a gentleman involved currently in adapting our H&S manual to conform to the OHSAS 18002 Guidance, I thank you for posing questions that will develop my approach to be considerably more cautious regarding continual improvement and commitments made therein.
 
D

DrM2u

#8
3.15
OH&S performance
measurable results of an organization’s (3.17) management of its OH&S risks (3.21)
NOTE 1 OH&S performance measurement includes measuring the effectiveness of the organization’s controls.

NOTE 2 In the context of OH&S management systems (3.13), results can also be measured against the organization’s (3.17) OH&S policy (3.16), OH&S objectives (3.14), and other OH&S performance requirements.
Now that I read it in more detail and after drinking some coffee :naughty:, I think it starts to make more sense to me. What the standard says is that the organization has to identify its applicable OH&S risks and implement some controls to manage those risks. One of the performance measurements is how well these controls work. :frust: One other requirement is for the organization to establish a policy, objectives and other requirements that enables the organization to achieve its policy and objectives. Therefore the other aspect of performance measurements focuses on how well the organziation meets its goals and objectives, or how well it progresses toward achieving them. :energy:In a nutshell, the requirement is for you to have controls and indicators in place so you know where you stand.

Now all these sound fine and dandy, but then comes the requirement to continually improve. :read: Well, you cannot improve if you don't know where you are and where you want to go. :mg: So, it goes back to performance measurements and objectives to set the foundation for improvement. From there, it also goes to the 'improvement tree'. Initially you will pick the low-hanging fruit then, through continued improvement efforts, eventually you'll pick all the fruit from the tree. Now what?!?:confused: The concept of continual improvement dictates that you should have some indicators in place :truce: to notify you when a new fruit in the tree is ripe and ready for picking. :horse:And this is how you satisfy the requirements IMHO.:agree1:
 
S

samsung

#10
Now that I read it in more detail and after drinking some coffee :naughty:, I think it starts to make more sense to me. What the standard says is that the organization has to identify its applicable OH&S risks and implement some controls to manage those risks. One of the performance measurements is how well these controls work. :frust: One other requirement is for the organization to establish a policy, objectives and other requirements that enables the organization to achieve its policy and objectives. Therefore the other aspect of performance measurements focuses on how well the organization meets its goals and objectives, or how well it progresses toward achieving them. :energy:In a nutshell, the requirement is for you to have controls and indicators in place so you know where you stand.

Now all these sound fine and dandy, but then comes the requirement to continually improve. :read: Well, you cannot improve if you don't know where you are and where you want to go. :mg: So, it goes back to performance measurements and objectives to set the foundation for improvement. From there, it also goes to the 'improvement tree'. Initially you will pick the low-hanging fruit then, through continued improvement efforts, eventually you'll pick all the fruit from the tree. Now what?!?:confused: The concept of continual improvement dictates that you should have some indicators in place :truce: to notify you when a new fruit in the tree is ripe and ready for picking. :horse:And this is how you satisfy the requirements IMHO.:agree1:
:applause: Nice explanation with pertinent examples of an issue which I suppose you were (till now) not an expert of. Am I correct ? But using the PDCA template you made it quite simple and comprehensible.

One of the performance measurements is how well these controls work.
Now I recall an interesting instance that took place in our plant a few years ago. There was a breakdown of our plant due to failure of one of the fans (critical equipment). Investigations revealed that it was due to malfunctioning of the proximity sensor fixed to the fan and was supposed to stop the fan once the vibration level exceeds the maximum allowable limits. The sensor was replaced to restore the operations.

The same problem repeated after a week. This time, the automation engineer fixed an additional sensor in addition to replacing the faulty piece. It was unusual but (fortunately) there was no recurrence of the problem even after 6-8 months and so this engineer claimed to have demonstrated the effectiveness of the actions (?) taken.

Although there was no further breakdown, was the action taken truly effective. IMO, 'No' since no one ever investigated why it failed at the first instance and why it didn't when an additional one was put up as a redundant piece of instrument. (fortunately the cost of redundant sensor was not too much compared to the loss of productivity).

Coming back to OHSAS, one needs to monitor and measure the effectiveness of the applied controls. For this, one may devise a suitable matrix.

And the most appreciable part of your above post is the example::agree1:
From there, it also goes to the 'improvement tree'. Initially you will pick the low-hanging fruit then, through continued improvement efforts, eventually you'll pick all the fruit from the tree. Now what?!? The concept of continual improvement dictates that you should have some indicators in place to notify you when a new fruit in the tree is ripe and ready for picking.
Here I would like to add that once all the risks have been reduced to an 'acceptable' level, the organization may wish to further raise the bar slightly up so as to keep people motivated and focused on the task and in this way the cycle of continual improvement goes on.....

Thanks once again for your nice comments.
 
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