The question frequently arises: "Why should we integrate our Quality Management System, Environmental Management System and Occupational Health and Safety Management System into one SHEQ Management System.
Let us look at the practical example of a large construction company that diligently decided that they need all three the management systems. They believed in some of it, the rest was to be done simply because their customers demanded them, and it would become increasingly difficult to secure contracts. Whatever the reason, they decided that, if they were going to do it, they were going to o it properly.
Managers for the management systems were duly appointed (not all at the same time). These persons were functioning independently from each other. Each went to work and designed and implemented the management system that he or she was responsible for, and, at least on paper, it was successful. In reality, as the 3 systems developed into fully fledged and properly implemented systems, chaos erupted. There were so many conflicting rules, policies and procedures that nobody was sure how things were supposed to be done. Duplication ruled supreme. The result? Confusion, ineffective systems and unnecessary financial expenditure.
Then a decision was taken to integrate the 3 systems into 1 SHEQ Management System. The results were dramatic. Activities were coordinated, duplication disappeared and management became effective and efficient.
The main reason for integration is that the SHEQ activities are closely linked.
Elements that should be combined include:
Many of the requirements of the 3 management systems are duplications of each other, simply because it makes sense to have these requirements.
Control of records
Corrective and preventive action systems
Integrating into a single SHEQ Management System suddenly starts to make a whole lot of sense. The question should rather be: "How do we do it in such a way that we still satisfy the requirements of each of the standards?"
Oh, and the other problem is to get some of our managers to let go of their individual little empires!
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