Better Safety Results in Better Quality
Numerous studies show that safety, productivity and quality are correlated in several ways. For instance, a Lockheed Martin study of their Paducah Plant revealed an increase in employee productivity by 24% and a reduction in factory costs by 20% when the safety on the shopfloor increased. This was because – to lower job hazards and accidents, the company updated its SOPs, provided extensive training to employees, emphasized on pre-work preparation and conducted periodic audits to ensure better safety performance. A positive side effect was reduced cost of production.
A study by Occupational Health Science reveals that the link between safety and quality comes from a company’s good management practices (GMPs), which translates to a motivated workforce. Workers are less worried about their health and safety, feel cherished and engage better in the workplace, contributing to making it safer and improving product and process quality.
There is one more reason why quality and safety management teams must collaborate a lot more and be insync with each other: Both practices result in better risk management – across business operations. At ComplianceQuest, we published a blog titled ‘Safety and Quality Management: Partners in Risk Mitigation’. The blog highlights the following important aspects:
- Both quality and safety management must have a formal, documented process
- QMS and SMS – both play a key role in driving Continuous Improvement (CI)
- Proactive risk management has a direct impact on business performance and financial metrics. Safety and quality performance are critical to minimize risks
- A number of solutions including Document Management, Audits, CAPA and Inspection Management are used by both quality and safety teams
Keeping this in mind, companies are now implementing EQMS and EHS systems that seamlessly integrate with each other.
ISO on Integrating Quality and Safety
Though the ISO standards focus more on product and process quality rather than safety, the safety aspect is built into the processes. If implemented correctly, the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems can help businesses integrate their quality and safety efforts to reap the benefits. Though safety is not mentioned explicitly, it is implied from the stress on hazard identification and proactive measures to be taken to make the work environment safe.
For instance, Section 4.2 of ISO 9001:2015 specifies the need to understand the needs and expectations of multiple stakeholders including customers, workers, suppliers, regulators and the community.
Section 7.1.4 focuses on “creating the right social, psychological, and physical environment for operating the processes.”
Clause 9.5 of ISO 9004:2018 provides guidance to “achieve sustained success” and states explicitly that “businesses can achieve success by giving appropriate importance to health and safety rules and guidelines.”
Building an Enterprise-wide Culture of Quality and Safety
Businesses that go beyond regulatory requirements and create a culture of both quality and safety will experience tremendous benefits in terms of more engaged employees, higher quality and productivity and enhanced customer loyalty.
This favorably impacts revenues and profitability while reducing quality and safety-related penalties and litigation.
To improve workplace safety and thereby, quality, it is important to:
- Create a Culture of Caring: As seen from the results of studies on the impact of safety on quality and the regulatory guidance on paying attention to safety to improve quality, it can be summarized that where there is a culture of caring, there is clear evidence of excellence. This is because employees are not only motivated by good pay and other benefits but value being valued. Therefore, this requires managers to lead from the front and not only draft safety policies but also enforce their application in operations. The leader influences the employees, who will be motivated to proactively follow safety procedures to complete their tasks and improve their performance.
- Encourage Safe Behavior: Along with correcting unsafe behaviors, it is also important to appreciate when safety principles are followed. This motivates the employees concerned to do better and inspires others to do the same. Also, when a safety observation is reported, take action and be transparent. When the employees see action being taken, they will feel encouraged to report potential hazards and near misses, thereby bringing down safety incidents, increasing employee engagement in quality and safety processes and enhancing the overall quality and safety of the processes.
- Reduce Absenteeism: When a worker meets with an accident in the workplace, it can lead to their being injured, which will put them out of work for a brief or long period depending on severity. This will affect productivity. In case of a severe injury or death, the worker may have to be replaced. This is both a cost and can disrupt schedules, affecting time to market. A replacement will need to be trained and may take time to reach the earlier productivity levels, thereby causing further delays and costs.
- Empower Employees with Data: To encourage a culture of quality and safety, employees need access to data, visibility into processes and the ability to study the impact of changes. This will help make informed and timely decisions and respond to events appropriately. They should be given appropriate tools and secure access to relevant data for the purpose. Managers must also seek their input – as the employees will have insights about their work areas that will help with the continuous improvement of quality and safety processes.
Comprehensive Quality and Safety Solution from ComplianceQuest
To provide access to data and a 360-degree view of all processes, businesses need a cloud-based, integrated quality and safety management solution. ComplianceQuest’s EQMS and EHS solutions are built on the Salesforce Platform and facilitate automating both these processes/workflows for greater efficiency.
The solution aligns with ISO and other leading standards and regulations to help businesses become compliant with quality and safety standards. The features of the two solutions enable end-to-end workflow management right from Document, Training, Audit, Incident Management and Reporting, Equipment Management, Supplier, Change, Risk, Complaint Handling and so on that helps with improved safety and quality.
To know more about how the CQ solution can ensure greater safety for better quality, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/lp/ehs/