Part 1 Oh My Goodness... we forgot ABOUT Change Control
Updated: Nov 27, 2017
This is one of several articles in a series about Change Control detailing why it is one of the main elements to achieving and sustaining zero defects in a manufacturing site.
At some point in time in our careers, each of us have experienced where a major process change has been implemented on the production floor and it has led to an employee being injured. As a first responder, we were called out to the production department to review the injury and begin the investigation process.
During the investigation, a serious safety concern was identified with a process change that could have been avoided during the planning stage, but could not easily have been corrected by retrofitting. Needless to say, the words surprised and blindsided immediately entered our minds and then the proverbial finger pointing started.
The process equipment had been designed, ordered, custom fabricated, and after weeks of installation and debugging, the equipment was running production. And then we ask ourselves during the investigation, “How did everyone inadvertently overlook the workstation design?”, which was identified as an unsafe condition and the root cause of the employee being injured.
An Ergonomics Study (including workstation design) is often overlooked at the planning stage of a process change for several possible reasons (typically more than one will apply)
Communication - The safety leader had no prior knowledge of the process change - no one thought to communicate this change.
Feedback - We really didn’t think it was an issue for our employees; no one said anything about it
Timing - we needed it yesterday to meet the customer's schedule
Resources - no one understands the principles of ergonomics
A robust and functional Change Control management system is required to ensure that any changes to chemicals, processes, equipment, layouts, and new production areas are reviewed and approved by the site’s Leadership Team. This should include Operations, Quality, HS&E, HR, Accounting, Supply Chain, Continuous Improvement, and Engineering. Failure of a site to ensure clear-concise communication and 100% alignment on a process change from the Leadership Team will lead to negative consequences either short term or longer term.
Change Control is one of the main elements to achieving and sustaining zero defects in a manufacturing site. Documentation for this type of management system includes, but is not limited to:
1) Defining the business need
2) Scope of the work to be changed
3) Approval from site Leadership Team
4) Addressing rejected changes
5) Addressing recommendations/improvements
6) Recording changes in relevant policies, procedures, and work instructions.
For more information on Change Control and how to develop, install, and sustain this critical management system, contact Billy Moore at 706-594-1660 and/or visit our website at www.strategicsafetyenvironmental.com.