An Integrated OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001
Management System in the Institute for ReferenceMaterials and Measurements
The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) is one of the seven institutes of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), a Directorate-General of the European Commission (EC).
The mission of IRMM is to promote a common and reliable European measurement system in support of EU policies.
The prime objective of IRMM is to build confidence in the comparability of measurements by the production and dissemination of internationally accepted quality assurance tools, including validated methods, reference materials, reference measurements, interlaboratory comparisons and training.
In today's company climate, certification and/or accreditation by an appropriate body is becoming the norm. There are many reasons to explain this tendency and in IRMM's case (Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, one of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre's (JRC) seven institutes), these were so as to enhance safety, health, environmental and security performances; assure compliance with regulatory requirements and with EC policies; improve customer satisfaction (quality); enhance image of the institute and improve cost efficiency. IRMM can be considered as similar, in some ways, to EU Member State national laboratories but being at EU level and having the other "Directorates-General" (DGs) of the Commission as customers. These customers need to be able to categorically state that the measurements carried out in the JRC laboratories are of top quality and that in striving to obtain these high quality results, all environmental and occupational health and safety regulations of the Commission and of the respective member state were followed. As mentioned above, having appropriate accreditation and triple certification provides a management system through which these demands can be met. Aiming to attain triple certification (OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001) in ~ 2 years would normally be considered too much of a burden to place on staff and internal auditors alike. However, approaching this in an integrated way, conversely provided not only the mechanism for achieving it in such a short time but also the vehicle for maintaining it, with minimal resources (if comparing against going for certification one by one), and dramatic simplification. IRMM's long (50 years) experience in the nuclear field meant that the long standing good practices in this area could be immediately applied to the bio-safety and chemical laboratories, so it would be untrue to say that the starting point was zero. Nevertheless, the triple certification process brought a synergy to the institute which had hitherto been unknown with the net encompassing: the legal register and how new or changed regulations are followed up; the methodology for risk assessments; the scoring of the environmental aspects; the integration of safety and environmental objectives in the staff evaluation system; certain Safety, Health, Environment (SHE) procedures with a management support overlap e.g. coding system for purchases; internal and external communication aspects; integrated auditing; the reporting of non conformances, incidents and accidents and the way management reviews are carried out. The integration process also involved an examination of the Performance Indicators (including core process and SHE indicators), highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. This work includes some newly chosen performance indicators and their respective targets in the areas of Safety, Health and Environment. It also includes the first score cards of our Integrated Management System which when displayed on a "dashboard" provide a straightforward means of benchmarking our institute with our fellow institutes in the JRC. Last but not least, the fact that this institute wide effort, fully supported by the director, resulted in improvements in inter-departmental communication, enhanced awareness by the hierarchical line of their SHE responsibilities and duties and involvement of all staff, in one way or another. How this was achieved in this 2 year period, starting in January 2006 and ending with the external audit in December, 2007 will be described in this work with the aim of showing all (including SHE) benefits of a truly integrated management system.
Joint Research Centre
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
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