Warehouse Fire: QMS Involvement?

T

Trolle

#1
Help Fire!

We have just had a fire, well more of a fire incident, in our warehouse!
Its origin was faulty electrical system. Although this is sure to be treated in the realm of safety protocolls, I was thinking it could be a matter for the QMS. Nonconforming infrastructure? or am I just :bonk:

Cheers!
 
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SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
Of course, a fire in the warehouse can be a problem affecting quality....and I guess you could initiate a corrective action...but I would probably only go that route if you feel that the faulty system was due to poor workmanship and failure to follow the prescribed systems/procedures (internally) or the failure of a supplier (contractor) to meet your requirements.

It's hard to say without some more information. Age of bldg/electrical system, is your system following some type of inspection (preventive maintenance) scheme, etc.?

If product was impacted, I would say definitely, document the problem and all actions taken to ensure that the customer is impacted as little as possible, or what type of arrangements you will make with the customer because of loss of product/delivery schedules.

Your safety system should make provisions for investigation and correction of causes of incidents, but there is nothing that says you can't integrate your systems.
 
D

David Hartman

#3
Trolle said:
We have just had a fire, well more of a fire incident, in our warehouse!
Its origin was faulty electrical system. Although this is sure to be treated in the realm of safety protocolls, I was thinking it could be a matter for the QMS. Nonconforming infrastructure? or am I just :bonk:

Cheers!
I once had one of the internal auditors, who was working for me at the time, write-up the shipping dock for animal (raccoon) feces on the dock. She wrote it as a nonconformity against internal requirements for cleanliness in the work areas. :)

So I can't really see a problem with handling such incidents through the QMS, after all we have been proselytizing others to the belief that ISO 9001 applies to the entire system - not just product related processes.
 
T

Trolle

#4
It wasnt so much the fire in itself but the fact that roof structures (burning!) fell down on top of plastic chemical containers. The warehouse staff put out the fire pronto! And forutunatly no adverse effect has ben noted. However if things had gone in a different direction all sorts of bad things would have followed.

And although, yes this is very much an issue for other "protocolls" still the QMS must assert itself. However Im a bit insecure if this incident is just such an example. But then again, what the heck, Ill go that route untill someone else says, not to! :smokin:

Cheers!
 
A

Aaron Lupo

#5
Trolle said:
We have just had a fire, well more of a fire incident, in our warehouse!
Its origin was faulty electrical system. Although this is sure to be treated in the realm of safety protocolls, I was thinking it could be a matter for the QMS. Nonconforming infrastructure? or am I just :bonk:

Cheers!
Just a thought, you may want to determine if you need to notify your Registrar if your are Certified. I know we had to when we had our fires, yes fires plural. Don't ask!
 
B

Bob_M

#6
Obviously you can take you QMS and Non-Conforming/Audit reports to any Extreme deemed necessary.

Did your company have THAT building built for them? (i.e. new facility)?
Is the poor wiring within YOUR control?
Who is responsible for the wiring?
If common sense preventative maintenance was not performed on the building, I'd be more worried about OHSA than your QMS...

Just my $0.002 worth (no that's not a typo!)
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#7
I never had experience with this, so this is JM(unexperienced)O...

I would be reluctant to write this us as a nonconforming under the QMS unless I could prove that someone in your company was negligent -- and even then I'd be careful depending on the culture of your company. Some accidents and things just cannot be reasonably anticipated and prevented. Because something happened it does not mean someone could/should have prevented it. Now, if someone plugged in 30 illegal extention cords in series and strung them across the plant to power something, or had an untrained (in electricity) secretary run 240V, 50 amp service to a machine, then something is very wrong. But I'd think there are enough people seriously concerned about this fire, and acting on it, that it might just look bad and create bad feelings if you came in and got the QMS involved in it and issued a nonconformance report or something. That might be rubbing salt in the wound and it might adversely affect how you and the QMS is seen in the future. Just something to consider...
 
#8
Ooops Trolle,

You are on to something, and in ISO 9001:2000 I would say that 5.1a & 6.3a are the clauses you're looking for (See also ISO 9004:2000).

5.1a: communicating to the organization the importance of meeting customer as well as statutory and regulatory requirements,

6.3a: The organization shall determine, provide and maintain the infrastructure needed to achieve conformityto product
requirements. Infrastructure includes, as applicable
a) buildings, workspace and associated utilities,


There are a few things to consider, though:

1. You can do your level best to prevent a fire from occurring and still have one. Freak accidents can and will happen given time. Could you have done more to prevent the incident?

2. You will have legal reqirements to consider. We both know about Swedish law being tough in that respect. Do you have a Health & Safety management system going? If so, you can point your QMS in that direction. (I do). If not, you still have to follow the letter of the law (not to mention the guidelines from your insurance company. They will certainly want to havea say in this matter).

3. Do you have an EMS? Clause 4.4.7 in ISO 14001 (Emergency preparedness and response) is quite strict about taking precautions, and a fire is clearly not good for the environment. Same again: If you have it, you can point the QMS in that direction.

/Claes
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#9
ISO GUY said:
Just a thought, you may want to determine if you need to notify your Registrar if your are Certified. I know we had to when we had our fires, yes fires plural. Don't ask!
What was the reason for you to have to notify your registrar?
 
T

tomvehoski

#10
I don't know that I would call it a nonconformance, but having had a client lose their building and 18 months of business due to a fire, I can see preventive actions or continuous improvement ideas here.

What would have happened if there was nobody around when the fire started? Are there alarms, sprinklers, etc? What if the chemical barrels had caught fire - explosoin? toxic fumes? Are plans in place to deal with hazardous situations? Are employees properly trained in fire control? What caused electrical system to fail? Could this happen in another area of the facility?

I would, at a minimum, initiate a preventive action to make sure some of these things are addressed. If you need to tie it to ISO, the section 6 requirements already stated make sense.

Tom
 
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