What to audit against clause 6.4 of ISO 9001:2000


M Greenaway

What to audit against clause 6.4 of ISO9001:2000

Can anyone tell me what to audit against clause 6.4 of ISO9001:2000 which states 'The organisation shall determine and manage the work environment needed to achieve conformity to product requirements'.


Is there a harassment policy in place (and enforced?) Are the working conditions suitable for the climate? Are physical discomforts reasonably accommodated?

Ex. In a manufacturing business operating in the South where temps exceed 100F, is airconditioning provided for office workers? If airconditioning the manufacturing facility is impractical or too expensive, how are you managing the heat? Perhaps by providing cold water coolers, giving the workers more frequent breaks where they can enter a small airconditioned area of the plant, by rotating workers from the parts of the process that are the most heat intensive into other work areas that are less heat intensive, by providing industrial fans.....

Outside of the physical comforts and discomforts, there are the emotional aspects as well, which the harassment policy would speak to, as well as generally providing an open atmosphere that encourages participation and cooperation.

Anything that the employee encounters during his day, in trying to perform his job to his best capability can be considered "environment".


work environment auditing

I hate to do this, but I kinda take this similar to QS 4.9.b.1. Cleanliness of Premises “The supplier shall maintain premises in a state of order, cleanliness and repair appropriate to the products(s) manufactured.”

I would expect an IC chipmaker to have a different work environment than a grinding operation.

A different take could also include the working ambiance. An “I hate you, you hate me” atmosphere is hardly conducive to manufacturing good product.

I think the first is the closer to what was meant, but if we want an effective system, we might have to expand the definition.

M Greenaway

Really !!

So if an employee is in the slightest bit disgruntled with anything I should raise a corrective action ?

I thought the standard was talking about the environment needed to achieve product conformity. I know that could mean almost anything, but shouldnt we be more interrested in direct product related environments. i.e. if you are making ice cubes in the sahara desert you need a temperature controlled factory.

Anyway the statement in the standard doesnt ask you to consider the effectiveness - just that the environment is determined and managed. Wouldnt that be natural. Or might you work for a company that makes things but hasnt realised that it hasnt got a factory ??!!

I know this sounds stupid, but so does this clause.

Jim Biz

Interesting Question

First thoutht is that "it depends"

>It depends entirely on what the product is.......

A manufacturing facility (as most all could ) - can use cleanliness> as a major criteria. Air quality (parts per million particles being put into the workplace due to machine moisture/smoke escaping. I Would think Noise levels should be managed. Possibly egronomic issues (are there/should there be lifting devices available for over xx pounds - etc.)

A plating facility would have different criteria > special storage for chamicals comes to mind.

A pure service facility (insurance company/distribution facility) would have different criteria for work environment factors.

Inspection labs > not only controlled documented tempratures but could push the issue - clear down to earth vibration effects management


My guess

When you look at the guidelines, it's "shoulds" include ergonomics, safety rules and guidance-including the use of protective equipment, facilities for people, workplace location, heat, humidity, light, vibration, pollution, social interaction?:eek: Why can't we all just get along? But the standard says: Determine and manage the work environment needed to achieve conformity to product requirements. To me, it may mean that an Auditor may see your process and request to see any Safety/Environmental procedures related to that process. That's scary. Being the facilty safety/environmental manager here, I just don't have to worry about following the normal Quality procedures. If I were an Auditor, the first thing I would ask to see the training records for those employees trained in Hazard Communication. This is a required written program for all companies with over 25 employees. Then I would ask to see forklift driver permits and the training program for them. I would ask to see the OSHA required daily maintenance checklist for those powered industrial trucks. Mandatory. Then I would ask to see all the daily overhead cranes/hoists checklists. Most companies have hoists with chains or slings. There are more, but they are industry specific. If you enter tanks, like we do here, you need a Written Confined Space Program. If the employees have to wear respirators, you must have a Written Respirator Program with physical examinations and madatory fit testing for the users. You ask to see those records. If they are seen wearing a respirator without medical clearance (evidence), you're in deep doo doo. And these people aren't even OSHA.:frust: I dread it. JMHO Pwew!:ko: :smokin:

M Greenaway

Or is this the old preventive maintenance clause of the 1994 standard, so watered down it is now unrecognisable and totally meaningless ?

M Greenaway

Energy are you saying that a quality audit will transform into a health and safety audit at this clause ?

I think not, we are talking about effects on product conformity, not employee health and safety. Important issues granted but a totally different kettle of fish (which you might like to stick your rod in :vfunny: ).


Uh Huh

Originally posted by M Greenaway
Or is this the old preventive maintenance clause of the 1994 standard, so watered down it is now unrecognisable and totally meaningless ?

No, that's in 6.3.:biglaugh:

Do you have a copy of the Guidelines-ANSI/ASQ 9004-2000? It's all in there as "should consider". That pretty much points out the direction the standard is coming from. If an employee can run over another employee with a powered industrial vehicle, or plow into product, it sure does affect the work environment. If a hoist cable snaps and cause injury to personnel or damage to product, that also can affect the work environment. All I'm saying is that I interpret it to mean the Auditor has more ammunition for findings related to the work environment. Lucinda's reference to REDACTED Harassment (we grade it here):vfunny: isn't far fetched when you look at "social interaction". Bloodborne Pathogen programs for people who may administer CPR. (AIDS):( I hope I'm wrong. But, for now, I don't see it any other way.
:ko: :smokin:


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just MHO

OK---I feel the need to jump in on this...

But let me say first, that i don't know jack about the new standard, and I hope my company abandons (sp) the whole ISO charade before our cert expires....so here I go....

What is ISO9k...any version. It is a QUALITY system standard. Subjects such as REDACTED harrasment policies, HazMat communication programs, safety issues, etc. are already well covered by the applicable overseeing governmental agencies (i.e. EEO, OSHA, EPA, etc., etc., etc.). So why can't we stick to the issue at hand. The requirements are for an enviroment to assure product conformity. I agree with Jim's view, that it depends on the enviroment. But to include things such as REDACTED harrasment policies and issues of temperature (where temperature does not effect product) is ridiculus (sp). Unless the goal is to squeeze out all the little guys because we don't have the resources to keep on top of these issues when they are already covered in other areas (as they should be).

Ok...off the box for now.

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