Operational Risk - Quality system procedure should cover all eventualities


Alan Cotterell

Dear Andy, I feel I should persevere and explain the concept of operational risk management a little bit further.
As I have said before the major risk areas in any industrial process are - quality, safety, environment, security.
If you consider the situation which exists in a hospital casualty ward, where a nurse is receiving patients - she should provide a quality service to patients. In the situation where some drunk cuts loose in the ward and attacks her or patients, you have a loss of quality of service, you have a health and safety problem, you might have environmental problems (if enough blood is spilt), you certainly have a security problem.
The risks are related and there are tradeoffs between them, which are affected by the risk controls you introduce.
Any quality system procedure should cover all eventualities.

Consider the situation where a nuclear reactor is in operation. Procedures might be aimed at maintaining electricity supply, but shouldn't they also cover workplace safety (safe handling of isotopes), environment (control of isotopes so that they are not released), security (protection of isotpes from terrorists).

In most cases a policy statement reflected in procedures is sufficient to control these risks.
I suggest management manuals should have four policy areas but only procedures which define the process in the workplace, and not separate quality, safety, environmental protection and security procedures.
It's a matter of doing the job right first time, i.e. getting an output which satisfies the customer - a quality/safe/nonpolluting product produced in a safe, nonpolluting secure workplace.

In the nuclear reactor case I am a stakeholder. There has been a proposal to set up a reactor in Indonesia in the next ten years. The culture in that country is not very democratic, and I suggest that this gives a certainty of incidents occurring. The controls for quality, safety, environment and security in reactors are procedural and depend on people doing the right thing, it's just not going to happen in Indonesia, we'll get another Chenobyl.
So Darwin will not be a good place to live.

I don't really care whether you have a problem selling quality systems to organisations, the point is their operational risk must be appropriately managed, and it's a matter of controlling the risks to a level tolerable to all stakeholders.

Best Regards, Al



I found your risk management interesting.

I notice when reading the various forums that individuals place quality, environmental, health and safety, and security in their compartments with ISO/QS in their compartment, as though they are not related.

As far as I am concerned they should all be included when documenting, and implementing ISO/QS.

These are all processes, which I include in Process Control, and I have trouble understanding how everybody wants to separate them.

As part of my Gap Analysis, environmental, health and safety issues, which ties in with security, play an important role. ISO/QS states a company must be in control of their regulatory and statutory requirements. Therefore, as an example, when a company is building an addition, they better have the appropriate building permit as mandated by law.

When a company chooses to ignore, and does not comply with mandated regulations, and laws they then sign a waiver for me. However most companies show a willingness to cooperate, and end up with a fabulous system.
Should they choose not to sign the waiver,that's their choice, however it is my choice not to be their consultant.

Lastly all documentation, including laws, codes, etc. are listed on the Controlled Document & Data List, or master equivalent, as external documents. I don't see how any of this can be separated.

my monies worth, which isn't worth a whole lot nowadays in Canada,


Alan Cotterell

I've given this matter of 'compartmentalisation of thought' some consideration over the years and have come up with some reasons for it.
If you have a look at the drawings of Escher the German artist, you will see monks walking continuously upstairs, and water flowing continuously downhill around in circles, in a way which is effectively perpetual motion, which we know is impossible.
In effect we cannot look at two parts of the picture at the same time, and see the absurdity of the drawings.
I suggest similarly we cannot perceive the ramifications of the quality, safety, environment, and security systems simultaneously - we cannot see the 'big picture'.
The answer is to write policies for the four risk areas, but only procedures for actually doing the process in the workplace.
The procedure is the point of systems integration, it should reflect all policies of the organisation. It is the 'correct way of performing work', in the organisation.

Alan Cotterell

Operational Risk

Dear Andy and Marc, From your silence and the fact that you removed the previous postings and responses on this subject from your forum, I note that you now understand Operational Risk Management. I can only suggest the action you have taken to apply this level of censorship, implies the parochial nature of your thinking, and the way you wish to continue.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Allan, don't give me (us) your bull. Andy had nothing to do with your message 'disappearing'. Your post was moved -- by me -- to the Misc Quality Topics forum as it more appropriately belongs there. You're just so focused upon yourself and your own ramblings (read: your own importance) that the forums here as a whole don't interest you - or you would have seen that the thread had been moved.

Just about every post you make here is on risk and promotes your web site. Nothing new. Many times I read your 'manifestos' and think to my self things like: "Should I delete this as a commercial posting?" and "Does this guy know anything else?" Often it's almost like SPAM - a diatribe about your 'cause' and then a "...by the way, you can learn more at my web site..." In truth, we both know you have been laughed out of several forums at other sites.

As far as your saying "...I can only suggest the action you have taken to apply this level of censorship, implies the parochial nature of your thinking...", I suggest you look in a mirror. And I suggest that you get a life.

As far as censorship goes, you should know better (but I'm not surprised you don't). If you don't 'like it here' in the Cove forums, then don't come back. No one is forcing you to visit or to post.

Alan Cotterell

Dear Marc,
I should have guessed you had moved the postings on Operational Risk. I apologise that you have been 'wrongfully accused', and for the fact that I have been too lazy to determine the logic associated with your forum structure.
As you have said, my postings in the past have always said the same sorts of things. Until recently I have never received a response which gave recognition of any sense to my comments.
The posting by awk from Canada in your forum is the first indication that anyone else actually percieves there is a problem coordinating the four risk areas. His solution - getting a waiver from the customer, is not what I would normally do, but it's a good answer.
The health and safety law in Victoria,Australia has recently changed to a risk management basis to replace (complement?) the Roben's style legislation.
I have developed a management manual which will give compliance with the new laws, is compatible with ISO9000, ISO14000. It is fairly generic for engineering companies conducting their business on a project basis. It has taken me about twenty years of writing manuals to get to the stage where I have one which really works.
The posting from awk has given me the reassurance I need to proceed to sell it.
I greatly appreciate the use of your forum, sorry to be a nuisance.

Andy Bassett

Hello Alan

Four days per week i live in an area where i consider myself lucky to have running water, but definitely no Internet access, the rest of the week i have to 'snatch' at Internet access in the companies where i work, which maybe explains the ragged quality of my input/questions sometime.

However, out of curiosity i have been E mailing you directly (inlcuding one this morning) as i wanted to explore your ideas a little more thoroughly, in case i was mssing something or i could learn something. You sound a little miffed, but I hadnt meant to slight you in anyway.


Andy B
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