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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Training is key to German Success - ISO9001

We have Clients in Germany and whenever I carry out audits for them or on their behalf at their suppliers, I am inevitably pleased to see how much more training is provided to workers than a similar company in the UK.

It seems that all workers receive a good level of product knowledge as well as quality and environmental awareness. Where hazardous goods are concerned the level of training is excellent. I also saw that a greater number of first aiders are trained.

There is of course always a downside, and on this occasion I did see a bottle in an eyewash station dated May 2006. The people in the department obviously ignored it but I firmly believe that the eyewash could have caused just as much damage to a person's eye as the chemicals they were trying to dilute.

I don't think that it would have been used as they also had a powerful water eye wash unit powered from the mains water, but the fact that it was there in the first place gives cause for concern. The bottle was consigned to the rubbish bin so no harm was done.

It was probably fortuitous that I carried out a vendor audit when I did rather than wait for a health inspector or even worse, an accident.

Rolls Royce cars are now produced by BMW and I am sure that training has played a big part in the success of German industry and although they are suffering in this recession they will come out of it strong and skilled.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Environmental Management Standard ISO14001 - Emergency Preparedness and Response

One of the requirements of the Environmental Standard ISO14001:2004 is that any organisation putting this standard into operation will have a plan to deal with emergency situations and accidents.

The plan sets out the identification of potential environmental impacts and the routine to be performed in the event of an accident or incident to:

  • Respond to the accident or incident;
  • Prevent or reduce injury;
  • Protect or reduce the impact on adjacent businesses, contractor's personnel and people living/working in the vicinity of the company;
  • Prevent or reduce environmental damage;

The plan aims at prevention and therefore all measures are taken to eliminate or reduce the potential causes of accidents and emergencies.

It is common practice to make a copy of the plan available to the emergency services and a copy kept offsite to ensure that timely action can be taken to mitigate any accident and coordinate a response to the incident.

The organisation should also test the plan to make sure that in an emergency the plan would work. Many organisations that do not practice the actions needed will find that the first major incident that happens for real will identify significant failures in the plan.

Testing should ensure that:

  • Everyone knows what to do
  • There is less duplication of effort
  • The organisation can prevent injury and reduce or prevent pollution
  • Get the organisation up and running as soon as possible.

The better prepared you are, the better you will deal with an incident

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