Management Systems Internal Audits – Going Beyond the Annual Physical Reply

EH&S Management systems standards are developed to proactively address and continually improve how to protect the environment and how to establish and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. The environmental management system, ISO 14001, and occupational health and safety management system, OHSAS 18001 – soon to be converted to the new ISO 45001, help to manage risks and take advantage of opportunities. Just as an annual EH&S audit can be related to an annual physical, internal systems audits can be related to the ongoing monitoring of your overall health. Working with a general practitioner to consistently improve a functional area of one’s health mandates a certain amount of effort. However, if this area is of highest risk to us, we will devote that time.

Commitment to internal auditing has huge potential for risk reduction and continual improvement, just as commitment to ongoing monitoring of your health. Part of this commitment is ensuring that your EH&S management system is functioning as intended to promote environmental protection and a safe and healthy workplace. Having an effective management system achieves this.

Management systems are most successful when all those affected in some capacity by the system embrace the procedures and best practices shared with them from the system – making the role of an internal auditor for management systems essential. They can act as another set of eyes to review operations and to act as the catalyst to best practices and improvement.

The internal auditor has the platform to point out an internal audit finding, such as emergency procedures not being executed as stated in documentation. They also have the responsibility to identify areas where there are opportunities for improvement, such as posting significant aspects in areas affected by those aspects to increase awareness.

In order to show continued improvement for an organization’s management system or an individual’s health, concrete evidence of steps taken to do so are very important. In a management system, objective evidence that procedures are being followed and are effective is a must-have. Internal audit findings are meant to take an organization’s EMS to the next level of best practices and demonstrate improvement of the system.

Having a management system, or working with a healthcare provider, won’t be of value if we simply carry on with business as usual. We cannot expect there to be improvements each time we have an annual appointment or audit without acting to correct or address issues identified. The value comes from embracing the guidance from the internal auditor or healthcare provider to see the most concrete improvements.

Embracing this guidance means continually improving the management system itself, and for this scenario, improving the preparation, execution, and documentation of internal audits. Managing audit documentation, corrective actions, and audit schedules in discrete, siloed, files leaves room for error and inconsistencies. Tools are now available to transform the way in which this is accomplished. A tool like the EHS-DashboardTM has the capability to schedule audits, log findings, communicate internally to address corrective actions, and store documentation, while simultaneously linking each piece together.

If you have questions about internal audits for management systems or how to implement tools to enhance your existing systems, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts. Linda Swift can be reached at lswift@capaccio.com or 978-621-6433 and Cristina Mendoza can be reached at cmendoza@capaccio.com or 774-249-2418.

New OHS Standard ISO 45001: Progress Towards Finalization Reply

Each year, nearly 2.2 million workers die as a result of an occupational injury or illness. This statistic is burdensome to organizations and society as a whole. To encourage a strong occupational health and safety program, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been working on the development of a new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Standard; ISO 45001. This standard aims to provide organizations with the framework to manage the prevention of work related injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

ISO 45001 has been drafted to include many of the same concepts set forth in OHSAS 18001. The main differences between the two standards is that ISO 45001 has a much stronger focus on the context of an organization and requires top management to provide leadership in the development, management, and tracking of their company’s OHS Management System. It is expected that OHSAS 18001 will be withdrawn once the new ISO 45001 standard is published. Organizations certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to transition to ISO 45001 within three years of its publication.

Currently the new OHS Standard is in its second draft. A preview of this version is currently available for review.  For the next four months, the OHS Standard will be undergoing the translation and ballot phase of the review process. If a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) is not required, the new ISO 45001 standard could be published as early as November 2017. If a FDIS is required, publication could be pushed back to the second quarter of 2018.

For more information please contact Bob King at 508-970-0033 ext. 113 or bking@capaccio.com or Katie Grasso at 508-970-0033 ext. 134 or kgrasso@capaccio.com.

Maintaining a Safe Environment of Care – conformance to Joint Commission Standards and avoiding accreditation citations Reply

Joint Commission accreditation is intended to ensure that hospitals provide the highest level of performance and service to their patients. The Joint Commission’s accreditation process seeks to help organizations identify and resolve problems and to inspire them to improve the safety and quality of care and services provided. The process focuses on systems critical to the safety and the quality of care, treatment, and services.

Joint Commission publishes a list of the top deficiency citations about every 6 months. The top ten citations for the first half of 2014 were recently highlighted in the December 2014 issue of the New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society (NEHES) newsletter. One of the top ten citations is specifically related to management of hazardous materials and waste. The Joint Commission Standards include Environment of Care Standard EC.02.02.01, the management of hazardous materials and waste. This standard includes several elements of performance to ensure that hospitals are maintaining a safe environment for their patients, health care professionals, and support staff. Hospitals must be able to demonstrate that they do the following:

– Maintain a written, current inventory of hazardous materials and waste that it uses, stores, or
generates
– Have written procedures, including the use of precautions and personal protective equipment, to
follow in response to hazardous material and waste spills or exposures
– Implement its procedures in response to hazardous material and waste spills or exposures
– Minimize risks associated with selecting, handling, storing, transporting, using, and disposing
of hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials (radiation, x-rays), hazardous energy sources
(lasers, MRIs), and hazardous gases and vapors
– Minimize risk associated with disposing of hazardous medications
– Monitor levels of hazardous gases and vapors to determine that they are in safe range
– Have the permits, licenses, manifests, and MSDSs required for managing hazardous materials and
waste
– Label hazardous materials and waste, identifying the contents and hazard warnings

Demonstrating conformance to this standard includes compliance with several regulations, covering a diverse range of hazardous materials and hazardous waste sources, or “streams.” In addition, there is overlap among the many applicable regulations: OSHA, EPA, DOT, NRC, DOE, state regulations, and local bylaws.

In order to reduce risk, hospitals should consider getting a third party inspection, or audit, to assist on both compliance with applicable hazardous materials and hazardous waste regulations, and conformance to the Joint Commission Environment of Care standard. If you would like to find out more, please contact CAPACCIO’s William Potochniak, PE, at wpotochniak@capaccio.com or Jill Vernes, CHMM, TURP, at jvernes@capaccio.com.

CAPACCIO to present “Expanding Scope Of Quality Management Systems To Keep Up With Stakeholder Demands”at ASQ BOSTON Reply

On February 10, Lisa Wilk, PE, President and CEO, and Julie Muszalski, RABQSA ISO 14001 Provisional Auditor, Sustainability Professional, both of Capaccio Environmental Engineering Inc. will present “Expanding Scope Of Quality Management Systems To Keep Up With Stakeholder Demands” at ASQ Boston’s monthly meeting. ASQ, the American Society for Quality, is a non-profit professional society dedicated to quality improvement and to bringing the benefits of quality to both industry and the community. The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites in Waltham from 5:30 PM to 8:30 p.m.

The presentation will review current applicable standards as well as provide an update on proposed standards, including several new international management systems standards and guidelines. Specifically, the presentation will address QC 080000:2012, IEQC’s “Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components – Hazardous Substance Process Management System (HSPM); the new ISO 14001 Revisions; ISO 26000:2010 (Social Responsibility); ISO 22301:2012 for Business Continuity Planning; and ISO 45001, which will be the replacement for current OHSAS 18001 Occupational Safety and Health Management System.

Integrating these management systems will require both internal process controls as well as consistent external reporting to customers and other important stakeholders. This presentation will also discuss these challenges and explore opportunities for addressing these needs through the use of common elements of ISO management systems.

For more information on ASQ BOSTON or to register for the February meeting, please visit: http://www.asqboston.org/
For more information regarding the content of this presentation, please contact Lisa Wilk at lwilk@capaccio.com or Julie Muszalski at jmuszalski@capaccio.com.