Successful Management System Ingredients for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) are critical for performance improvement.

Management System Ingredients may perhaps conjure up an image of something that will be a magic bullet, which will ease away all your management problems. If only this “magic bullet” existed and if only I had invented it. I could then have my own sun-drenched remote island or rent for a couple of weeks (!) Richard Branson’s Necker Island.

Management System for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) come in 2 International “flavours”.

For Environmental (E), we have the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14001 and for Health and Safety (H&S) we have ISO 45001. Of course, we also have the “combo” version under the label “Integrated HSE Management System”. There are many acronyms as you can appreciate, but I am sure you get the gist of it….?

Management System has been around for some time now and my “first date” was with ISO 14001 back in 1996. The first standard for environmental management system was born in the form of the British standard BS 7750. This later became the ISO 14001 standard, which was developed by the International Organization for Standardization in 1996. Since then ISO 14001 has gone through revisions as expected.

The new kid on the block is ISO 45001 and its been long overdue. I could never understand why we never put more impetus behind issuing this International Standard because “incidents and accidents” don’t take breaks or holidays. I am not saying that a Management System will stop or prevent accidents/ incidents but they do offer a structured framework that Organisations can adopt without guessing or creating their own. Generally, Standards capture lessons learnt and several years of experience that the authors and industry provides. This means that Organisations can immediately benefit from such valuable contributions.

In essence, Management System is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act principle. Again (it’s never straightforward), it is also known as PDCA, Plan–Do–Study–Act (PDSA) Cycle, Deming Cycle or Shewhart Cycle etc.

My own preference is “Plan-Do-Analyse-Refocus” as Management System Ingredients.

Prior to doing any “Do-Analyse-Refocus”, a successful “Plan” depends on knowing what is required and this is where a Gap Analysis will provide valuable insight.

Quote from Wikipedia: PDCA was made popular by W. Edwards Deming, who is considered by many to be the father of modern quality control. However, he always referred to it as the “Shewhart cycle”.

The PDCA Loop is basically a 4 Step Model for carrying out change. There is a “repeat” mode in that the PDCA Loop should be repeated again and again so that we keep on “continuously improving”. Later in Deming’s career, he modified PDCA to “Plan, Do, Study, Act” (PDSA) because he felt that “Check” emphasized inspection over analysis. Let’s stick with the “well” known PDCA Loop.

In the majority of cases that I have had involvement with Clients having a Management System, the “Achilles heel” tend to be in the “Do” part. There is rarely shortage in “Plan”, “Check” and “Act”. Of course, internal audits as part of the “Check” process identify issues related to “Do”, but corrective actions are often poorly defined and somewhat a “cop out” (e.g., write a procedure to “Do” when the issue could be more deeply rooted). Of course, I realize that I might have been controversial with this last sentence, but it’s food for thought and I would be interested to hear other views.

That brings me to the header picture and you may have noticed the “Do” piece is missing. I will let you draw your own conclusions on “why the 3 stooges” and why “Act” is perceived to be more of a management function…is it? Again, what are your views?

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