Frequently Asked Questions
To help you better understand QSM training, consulting and product solutions, we’ve put together a list of our frequently asked questions.
How long does it take to get QA/OHS/EMS certification?
How long it will take to achieve certification of your management systems depends upon a number of factors such as:
Are there any deadlines or constraints that need to be accommodated?
What is the scope and objectives of the project?
How much is to be done in-house and by QSM Group?
What is the current status of your existing systems?
Once these points have been established we can advise how long the project should take. In most instances we will be able to advise you at the initial meeting, before we have submitted a proposal.
How much will the project cost?
How much a project will cost depends upon how much of our time and resources are required. Often this will depend on factors such as:
How much progress can be made by using in-house resources?
Ability of in-house personnel.
In our proposal to you we will spell out each phase of the project, how much of our time we estimate each phase to take and our hourly rate. This way you are in total control of the costs because you will be able to monitor costs against progress at every stage.
What on-going support will we need and what is available?
This depends entirely upon the resources and abilities of those resources within each organisation and we can help you identify this during the project.
We can provide you with whatever level of on-going support is required, if any. Support may range from a casual visit from a consultant every few months to answer any questions, provide advice, conduct an internal audit, to a consultant visiting for a couple of days each week to take on the responsibilities of the Systems Manager. A lot of small to medium organisations find that a consultant visiting for a day a month is sufficient to keep their systems under control.
Our systems were developed many years ago and now our business has changed, our old systems have stagnated, are not understood by current employees and are not helping us. How can we change our systems to reflect our current business and what can we do to stop it happening again?
Regardless of whether your systems are for QA, OHS or EMS there are various reasons why they become stagnant, such as:
Ineffective internal auditing and management systems reviews.
Ineffective systems for continual improvement.
No constructive objectives and targets established for the systems.
Ineffective training of new employees in the systems.
Poorly developed systems at the outset.
Key employees who understood and managed the system have left the organisation.
Whatever the reasons for your particular situation, through asking the right questions and listening to you we will establish the cause and then propose a solution that best suits your needs.
Solutions can include:
Redeveloping simple easy to follow systems that reflect how you want the business to run.
Establishing and implementing effective systems for training new employees, internal auditing, management systems review and continual improvement.
Providing training to employees in the requirements of the systems.
Participation in internal audits and management systems reviews.
We need to do internal audits, we have staff who have attended auditor training, but we don't have time, what can we do?
More and more organisations are finding that their employees are too busy to conduct internal audits. We can either review or simplify your system for conducting internal audits, so that they are less time consuming, or (what most organisations prefer) we can come in on a regular basis and conduct your internal audit for you.
We don't have people with spare time available to maintain our system and can't afford a consultant to help, what options are available?
Initially it may appear that engaging a consultant to maintain your systems on a regular basis is expensive, but in most instances the opposite is true. If you choose a good consultant, one who can understand what makes your business tick, you will find that you are getting value with a positive return on the money that you are investing in the consultant.
Many organisations don't have a full time IT Department, lawyer or maintenance person/electrician/mechanic/ plumber. These resources are outsourced because it is less costly and you know the job will be done right. A similar approach should be considered for the on-going maintenance of management systems.
It is worth remembering the words of John Ruskin (1819-1990):
"It's unwise to pay too much, but it is unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it's well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better..."
Why do we need to develop health and safety management systems, we had a Worksafe inspector in here recently and he/she said everything was OK?
Often Worksafe inspectors will visit a workplace to check on one or two specific activities/topics and will restrict their observations to these.
Employers, because they were told, “that appears to comply with the requirements,” can mistakenly believe that all activities with the workplace comply with applicable legislation and there is nothing more that they need to do.
With regards to health and safety, an employer always needs to ensure that they comply with all applicable legislation. To do this an employer needs to know what the legislative requirements are and then have systems implemented to ensure compliance. Without having clearly defined health and safety systems it is difficult for an employer to know or demonstrate that the legislative requirements are met.
We can't force our employees to comply with our safety instructions. They are adults; they should take responsibility for their own actions, shouldn't they?
An employer must do everything that is reasonable and practicable to ensure that the workplace is free from hazards.
The onus is on the employer to:
Identify all hazards associated with the work being conducted, and then
Develop and implement systems and controls to ensure that employees are not harmed as a result of those hazards.
Sometimes this requires an employer to ensure that employees do not come to harm through their own foolishness, ignorance or basic stupidity.
If employees are harmed because they did not comply with a reasonable instruction, employers cannot defend themselves by saying, '”I told him it was dangerous but he did it anyway.” The employer would be liable because the safe system of work was not enforced.
Most employers would not allow employees to steal from them, it is against most company rules for employees to steal and if they were caught stealing they would face serious consequences. A similar level of importance needs to be given to employees who fail to comply with safe systems of work.
Why should we need to have environmental management systems, shouldn't the developing countries get their house in order first?
This is an excuse often used by people who don't fully understand what damage is being caused to the environment, how that damage is caused, the extent of the damage caused and what can be done to reduce and reverse the damage.
It is no use blaming others and not taking responsibility for our own actions. We need to get our own house in order before we criticise others. In getting our own house in order, we may very well find that we are causing more damage than we realise.
Our experience has shown that the decision makers in most Australian organisations do not fully understand what impact their organisation is having on the environment.
An effective Environmental Management System requires an organisation to understand what environmental impacts are caused from all aspects of the organisation’s activities and then to implement controls to minimise and negative impacts.
We already recycle our paper and turn out lights, what more can we do?
The list is endless; one of the first steps should be to conduct an environmental aspect and impact assessment of the activities conducted by your organisation. This will help you to understand what it is that needs attention, then actions can be planned and implemented to reduce and reverse the negative impacts being caused by your organisation.