Mention the word “compliance” and many automatically group it with topics like “going to the dentist,” “doing my taxes” or “cleaning the basement.” Yes – compliance takes effort, but that effort pays off. At the heart of the most regulatory compliance is quality, and that effort will pay off by helping your organization create a safe and productive work environment for your team as well as control costs.
There are many forms of compliance from numerous regulatory and quasi-regulatory agencies. The range from focusing on health&safety, environment, waste, good-practice processes and more – all typically focused on improving team/customer quality.
In all cases, adherence to a regulatory body could be summarized as “commitment to creating a quality environment.
Let’s start with OSHA. With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created OSHA to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”1 These regulations have guided businesses, schools and municipalities to create a more quality environment for their staff. Again, adherence can sometimes be difficult, but at the end of the day, compliance improves the quality of those people working in that organization.
Many organizations will either implicitly or explicitly use a quality management system (QMS). A quality management system is a collection of business processes focused on consistently meeting customer/student/patient/citizen requirements and enhancing their satisfaction. It is aligned with an organization's purpose and strategic direction. This is a very generic statement but can further focus on areas such as organizational goals and aspirations, policies, processes, documented information and resources needed to implement and maintain it. Again, QMS can be formal or informal, but the overall goal is to improve quality. At the end of the data, we are trying to reduce risk. Corrective Actions Preventive Actions (CAPA) help us do this typically defined by formal or informal quality management systems.
In fact, many regulatory compliance processes and actions can be directly traced back to elements of (formal or informal) QMS.
Let’s continue to use OSHA as an example as it pertains to all industries in the US. According to OSHA, in 2018, the top ten OSHA violations:
Fall Protection - general requirements - Standard 1926.501 (7,270 occurrences)
Hazard Communication - Standard 1910.200 (4,552 occurrences)
Scaffolds - general requirements - Standard 1926.451 (3,336 occurrences)
Respiratory Protection - Standard 1910.200 (3,118 occurrences)
Lockout/Tagout - Standard 1910.147 (2,944 occurrences)
Ladders - Standard 1926.1053 (2,812 occurrences)
Powered Industrial Trucks - Standard 1910.178 (2,294 occurrences)
Fall Protection - Training Requirements - Standard 1926.503 (1,982 occurrences)
Start with keeping people safe in the first place.
A well-implemented CMMS will have detailed step-by-step instructions ensuring the technician has the steps to get the job done safely.
CMMS will also make sure that only appropriately trained staff can perform the job with the right tools and safety equipment. Proper communication, connecting the tech with the work is essential.
Q: Does the technician have proper certification for ladder and related safety?
Our cloud-based work and asset management platform, Asset Essentials™, allows you to manage a library of safety programs. See the “Ladder Safety Certification” below.
Every team member can be associated with these safety programs, including when they were certified, expiration, etc.
Q: Are the proper safety precautions established and described on the work order?
Every safety program can optionally be associated with any preventive or corrective maintenance work order.
Here is a generic list of the safety programs.
Each preventive (or corrective) routine can have any safety program associated.
You can also associate videos, pictures and other associated documents to help with instructions, trainings, etc.
All of this can be tracked and managed in your CMMS. And as the work is performed, it should be well documented.
The 99.999% of work that is done without issue and well-documented in your CMMS can prove to auditors that you are serious about safety. Lack of documentation will not help your case when visited by an OSHA auditor. Conversely, if you do have an incident, having the history of work performed, training and certification records of your team, historical recorded incidents and other safety documentation will really help.
In short, having a quality management plan within your CMMS to improve the safety of your team will help keep people safe – good for morale, control costs and team effectiveness.
Today, a “serious” OSHA violation can cost up to $13,260, and a “willful” or “repeat” violation can cost up to $132,598. And this is just the start. Add lost productivity and insurance-related hikes and it can get much worse. OSHA compliance is to keep our workers safe and improve quality but can also be a serious help to our bottom line.
Failure to be compliant with any regulatory agency, regardless of what industry you hail from can cause negative personal, physical, morale or financial impact. Conversely, adherence – not because you are “required” – but rather because you embrace the improvement to the quality operations for your organization, contribute to:
On its own, CMMS will not make you compliant with any regulatory agency. You can’t just go out and subscribe to a system and expect to pass an audit. You need to use the CMMS in conjunction with good quality processes and practices.
Not only will you make your operation safer and better for the environment, your team and customer, you get the other significant benefits including reduced downtime of assets, better spare parts management, reduced overtime, better-running facilities and assets – all helping your bottom line.
Compliance = quality = better operations!