Compass Assurance Services http://compassassurance.com.au Helping you manage risks more effectively Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:40:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ISO9001 certification & risk-based thinking http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/iso9001-certification-risk-based-thinking/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/iso9001-certification-risk-based-thinking/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:40:35 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6645 The 2015 version of ISO9001 Quality management systems the ISO introduced the concept of risk-based thinking. Although many who have experience with the standard will argue that it was always… read more →

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The 2015 version of ISO9001 Quality management systems the ISO introduced the concept of risk-based thinking. Although many who have experience with the standard will argue that it was always there in one form or another with preventative action. The updated version of the standard just articulates preventative action as risk-based thinking. This change has shifted the way both auditors and clients think about the standard.

 

The aim of risk-based thinking is to take advantage of opportunities and prevent undesirable outcomes having negative impacts on a business. Importantly nowhere in the standard does it say that you need a risk register or a risk matrix. The standard doesn’t specify that these types of records need to be kept. This goes back to a little mantra we have here at Compass, don’t create stuff because you think we want to see it. In some businesses, risk registers are an effective method of addressing business risk but if they don’t work for you, we don’t need to see them.

 

ISO 9001 does require you to be able to identify risk and opportunities that may affect your customer, products and services. You also need to put in place actions to address these risks and opportunities and this is what you must be able to demonstrate at your audit.

 

There are many ways you can demonstrate risk-based thinking apart from formal, traditional approaches. This may mean you have a business plan that addresses risks and opportunities, are the directors considering risk and opportunity in board meetings? Are senior management planning the business strategically and assessing what might go wrong and well in the business future operations?

 

These approaches take a different look at assessing risk and demonstrating risk-based thinking. Considering risk and opportunities and undertaking risk based thinking is intuitive to good business practice. Risk-based thinking is often something that business owners and leaders do inherently on a day to day basis. ISO 9001 has taken this concept and made it integral to maintain your quality management system to drive good business practice.

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AS/NZS 5377: The Essentials http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/asnzs-5377-essentials/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/asnzs-5377-essentials/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 13:30:02 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6641 AS/NZS 5377 is a management system standard developed by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and the New Zealand Ministry of Environment. The intent of the standard is to… read more →

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AS/NZS 5377 is a management system standard developed by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and the New Zealand Ministry of Environment. The intent of the standard is to provide a uniform approach management of e-waste activities, mostly around safety and environmental concerns. AS/NZS 5377 has 5 sections that relate to various “steps” in the e-waste processing progress. Businesses can have multiple sections or just one apply to their business operations. However, there is one section of the standard that is compulsory for all those seeking AS/NZS 5377 E-waste certification Section one, nicknamed here, the head office section

 

Section 1 outlines the general requirements of the standard that are applicable to all organisations. This section provides a framework for identification of legal and other requirements to manage business functions as well as risks related to safety and environment. This section of the standard requires organisations to consider the following:

  • The requirement to identify relevant legislation and licensing requirements
  • Risk assessment processes and emergency response and identification of training needs
  • Records management and data security

 

Ensuring requirements for the refurbishment of equipment and disposal to landfill are met. The requirements of this section share element with other ISO management system standards such as ISO 9001 Quality, ISO14001 Environment and AS/NZS4801 safety management systems certification.

 

This is beneficial to those who are already certified to another ISO standard as these standard share elements around recording and licensing requirements. So good news if you’re already certified (to ISO14001 in particular) then there is a good chance you will have already covered off the majority of the requirements in this section.

 

There are of course a few requirements unique to AS/NZS 5377 regarding specific compliance. The standard generally is compliant focused, specific and have a narrow breath for interpretation, unlike other management systems certification that are more open and broad in the way an organisation can demonstrate compliance. Everybody has some form of head office, this could be a could be the main site of operations or another site dependent entirely on how each individual business runs its operations.

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A guide to ISO14001 Certification: Significant Risk http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-iso14001-certification-significant-risk/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-iso14001-certification-significant-risk/#respond Sun, 11 Jun 2017 13:30:25 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6636 It’s time for the next instalment in our new blog series; Your Guide to ISO140001 Certification. In the last post, we covered how to establish environmental controls and identifying your environmental… read more →

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It’s time for the next instalment in our new blog series; Your Guide to ISO140001 Certification. In the last post, we covered how to establish environmental controls and identifying your environmental risks. After going through this processes you should now have a selection of environmental risks with adequate controls in place to address them. From here we move onto the concept of determining if these controls have reduced to risk to an acceptable level.

 

Have your controls reduced the level of risk down low enough for my business determines that it is acceptable? Well, how do you determine what is acceptable? This should be determined by management. This has been codified in the updated 2015 version of the ISO14001 standard which requires top management’s buy into businesses processes and risk. What management determines as acceptable will vary greatly from business to business and industry. Outside of what management decides is an acceptable risk all that is required is to be addressed by controls is what is legally required.

 

What is legally required for compliance is also very specific to each individual business and their operations. Make sure that you’ve done the adequate research to ensure what is legally required for your business. This is often location specific e.g. a construction company operating in the city will have different legal requirements to those even operating in rural areas. Business operating across states also need to be mindful of the differences between

 

Allocating responsibility is also an essential part of the risk assessment process. There needs to a person or teams dependent on the business structure who are responsible for managing the controls around the risk and that the level of risk is maintained as acceptable. Finally, all controls placed around your environmental risks need to be documented. This is one of the few required documents for ISO14001:2015 certification. We’ve seen this done a range of different ways such as using procedures and Job Safety and environmental Analysis (JSA’s), this is particularly useful for those who have or are thinking about safety certification.

 

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ISO9001 & Quality Objectives http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/iso9001-quality-objectives/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/iso9001-quality-objectives/#respond Sun, 04 Jun 2017 13:30:31 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6634 Creating, establishing and recording quality objectives are an essential requirement of both getting and maintaining your ISO9001 Quality certification. Setting and working towards a set of quality objectives can also… read more →

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Creating, establishing and recording quality objectives are an essential requirement of both getting and maintaining your ISO9001 Quality certification. Setting and working towards a set of quality objectives can also have benefits for your business strategy and will help drive continual improvement and growth.

Quality objectives are covered in section 6.2 of ISO9001:2015 Quality management systems standard. Objectives are also a common element to any of the management systems standards. This means that if you are working towards or thinking about adding ISO14001, AS/NZS4801 or ISO27001 later in the game you will be required to create objectives relevant for these standards as well. But when it comes ISO9001, quality objectives are one of the only three key pieces of documented information outside of required records you will be required to have. You are also required to have your quality system scope and policy to be documented along with your quality objectives.

 

Now here is where “the rubber hits the road.” The key thing is that most people discount the importance of setting clear, realistic and achievable quality objectives when beginning their certification journey. It is a key competent that some our of people even think it is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the standard that unfortunately a lot of people tend to get wrong at the start. If you don’t know where you are going – how on earth are you going to get there? Your quality objectives are your map – your guide to improving your business services or products.Your objectives should be key indicators of your businesses success, growth and goals. If your meeting your quality objectives your business is heading in the right direction. Some people may already have these concepts in place but call their quality objectives something else. They are seen in other forms such as a business vision or KPIs. These are all effective tools to help develop quality objectives, but they need to be measurable, and you need to be able to plan for them effectively. Each quality objective should have actionable components: you need to be able to articulate when something is going to be done, by who and with what resources.

 

Another important aspect of developing quality objectives is they need to be able to resonate with everyone within the organisation. There is little use having objectives that are relevant to specific roles in the business. If you have multiple operational roles, such as logistics or accounts, the person manning the warehouse is not going to resonate with that general goal to grow the business. This comes down to making your quality objectives realistic for everyone in the organisation to be contributing towards. There is nothing wrong with having general aspirations to grow your business but you also need to have other objectives that are relevant to all aspects of your business.

 

The key things to take away about quality objectives are;

  • Make sure you’ve got your objectives are written somewhere: It is common for clients to have their on their website as well.
  • Make sure they resonate with each role within your business: there needs to be something there for everyone.
  • Make sure you can measure them.
  • Ensure they are analysed and reviewed – such as during your management review – for more on management review, read the guide here. 

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Economic Benefits of ISO14001 http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/economic-benefits-iso14001/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/economic-benefits-iso14001/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 13:30:34 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6631 ISO 14001 environmental management system is the international standard for environmental management. The standard ensures effective environmental management systems minimise your environmental impacts, help you meet your obligations, licensing conditions… read more →

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ISO 14001 environmental management system is the international standard for environmental management. The standard ensures effective environmental management systems minimise your environmental impacts, help you meet your obligations, licensing conditions and overall lead to improved environmental performance. Implementing a system compliant to ISO 14001 can bring a wide range of benefits to your business but we’ve picked decided to take a look at the economic benefits of ISO14001 certification can have for your business.

 

A study of four case histories has shown significant economic benefits have accrued by having an effective environmental management system to ISO14001:

  • One company avoided a $70,000 fine because it could demonstrate to the regulator (through it certified EMS) that their systems and processes ensured they had taken all necessary precautions, and their corrective action processes would minimise future occurrences;
  • Another company reduced its recycling rate by more than 95%, reduced or replaced packaging, introduce lead-free soldering and eliminated halogen from one of its manufacturing process;
  • A walk-through programme initiated under another company’s environmental management system identified ultimate savings of 40% on water treatment costs and has led to an energy monitoring system that has the potential to deliver a savings of over 10% on their substantial energy bill.
  • The implementation of an environmental management system for another company identified a 61% saving of electricity during non-operational times and they now sell a waste that was previously sent to landfill.

 

In addition to the readily measurable benefits, intangible benefits from improved business efficiency accrue simply because there are clearly defined process and procedures and roles and responsibilities: employees know what to do when, by whom and how to do it properly.If your company has an existing quality management system to ISO9001:2008 or a safety management system to AS/NZS 4801:2001, the logical extension to environmental management is easy.

 

The similarity of ISO 14001:2004 with the other Standards means that typical ‘system’ elements (such as document and records management, management review and internal audit) already implemented will meet the requirements of the environmental management system, thus providing further efficiency and operational dividends.However, one of the biggest benefits of developing and effectively implementing an environmental management system is the benefit to the environment – through reduced pollution, improved efficiencies reduced waste and improved overall awareness.

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Ransomeware & Cyber Security http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/ransomware/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/ransomware/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 02:28:45 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6620 Many of us awoke this Monday morning to hear of the latest wave of ransomware attacks on business globally. As many as 200,000 businesses over 150 countries were targeted with… read more →

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Many of us awoke this Monday morning to hear of the latest wave of ransomware attacks on business globally. As many as 200,000 businesses over 150 countries were targeted with at least three being identified as Australian businesses.

For those who aren’t familiar with ransomware, it attacks users’ computers, encrypting files and places a ransom on their release with the threat of deleting the data permanently. In this instance hackers took advantage of vulnerabilities in older outdated versions of Microsoft users had installed and failed to update. Ransom was demanded in Bitcoin and the attack generated around USD$55,000 of payments. The attack was halted when a 22-year-old discovered a kill-switch in the code.

The attack disrupted operations at car factories, shops and schools. a UK Hospital was even forced to turn away some patients as they could not access their patient records. Such attacks have the potential for devastating effects on government and larger organisations operations. Fortunately, in this attack, no critical functions appear to have been affected.

Small businesses are often targeted by cyber security threats with a third documented cyber-attacks in Australia occurring upon small-to-medium businesses. SME’s often make easy targets for cyber crooks as business owners-operators have been found to have lower levels of concern and measures in place around protecting their cyber security. In this instance, the vulnerabilities that supported these attacks could have bene prevented if the hardware was updated regularly. Yes, we all know updating computers can be an annoying with updating requiring computers to be restarted disrupting your working day. However, this is a clear example of why it is so important to keep all software up to date as required. Take a look at out blog post here for 4 easy tips to protecting your information security.

These are precisely the types of issues that ISO27001 Information security management is aimed at preventing. ISO 27001 certification is aimed at creating and establishing processes to safeguarding information your Information Security from unauthorised access, use, destruction, modification or disclosure. As organisations have become more connected with increased information flows productivity has improved dramatically. The flip side to all this is that we are now more reliant on this data and information than ever before. If our organisation’s data becomes corrupted, destroyed or falls into the wrong hands it can have serious commercial and legal consequences.

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A guide to ISO 14001 certification: your environmental controls http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-iso14001-certification-environmental-risks/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-iso14001-certification-environmental-risks/#respond Tue, 09 May 2017 23:15:02 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6607 It’s time for the next instalment in our new blog series; Your Guide to ISO 140001 Certification. In the last post, we covered how to identify your environmental risks. After going… read more →

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It’s time for the next instalment in our new blog series; Your Guide to ISO 140001 Certification. In the last post, we covered how to identify your environmental risks. After going through this processes your business should now have a list of environmental risks that your environmental system can now be establish controls around.

One key thing/consideration a lot of people tend to get wrong is to consider your environmental issues without controls in place. It is common for a client in their initial audits or interactions with ISO 14001 to say but we don’t have any environmental issues – often this is because they are already managing them

For example: If you run a cleaning business with a warehouse full of cleaning products and chemicals. You may initially say there are no environmental risks, but this is because they are already securely stored with drainage and stormwater runoff managed within the warehouse.

 

To create an EMS you need to analyse this risk without the pre-existing controls in place.

This can be a difficult process for some clients to go through as often these practices are common knowledge and almost second nature or may be so integrated into the business or industry that they are often difficult to identify as risks.

 

If you take the controls away does the risk increase?

Some clients can also take the other approach, they already have adequate controls in place but may think they aren’t doing enough or put extras controls or procedures in place in order to gain ISO 14001 certification. This is where risk-based thinking comes in,  if that risk is already being managed, then creating extra procedures to manage it will only waste your businesses time and resources. As we’ve said in previous posts don’t create procedures because you think ISO certification requires them. All procedures need to make sense within the context of your business.

When creating controls around your environmental outputs you must go back to first steps and ask the question is this risk significant to my business. Often clients/businesses will put in place controls around their environmental outputs they have determined are an insignificant risk.

ISO 14001 only requires businesses to put controls around risks that are significant to the business. If you determine and justify why an environmental aspect is not a significant risk then you don’t have to out controls around that risks to satisfy the requirements of ISO 14001 environmental certification.

 

So to recap when working towards ISO 14001 certification you need to come up with your environmental outputs, consider if they are a significant risk to your business and then place adequate controls around the risks you have considered significant.

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HACCP and your CCP’s – How to determine your critical control points http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/haccp-ccps-determine-critical-control-points/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/haccp-ccps-determine-critical-control-points/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 03:33:14 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6602 HACCP food safety certification takes a fundamental approach to assessing and preventing risk at any stage of the food production and handling stage from transportation to being served on your… read more →

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HACCP food safety certification takes a fundamental approach to assessing and preventing risk at any stage of the food production and handling stage from transportation to being served on your plate at your favourite restaurant. Defining and identifying Critical Control Points (CCP’s) is an essential step to both getting and maintaining your HACCP food safety certification.

 

Did you notice it’s even referenced in the term HACCP food safety Certification? HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

 

HACCP food safety certification can have a huge range of benefits for any organisation willing to implement a compliant food safety management system. Take a read of our Top 5 Reasons to get HACCP certified post. We’ve worked on a guide to how to identify what your business’ CCP’s are as an essential step to getting HACCP food safety certification.

 

What is a Critical Control Point?

A critical control point is the point where the failure of a standard operation procedure (SOP) could cause harm to a consumer. This concept is not exclusive to food preparation and handling; it can be applied to any form of service or product. CCP’s are particularly relevant to the food preparation and other subsidiary industries as food products are vulnerable to cross contamination. Cross contamination comes in many forms including; microbiological, physical, chemical and allergens. This is covered in HACCP Principle 1: Hazard Analysis (HA).

HACCP is a tool that focuses on prevention rather than relying on end-product testing. HACCP can be applied through the food chain from primary production to final consumption and its implementation is guided by scientific evidence of risks to human health.

 

How to identify your CCPs.

A key competent of CCP’s is the term Critical: you only need to implement controls around the control points in your food handing processes that are deemed critical to the safety of consumers of the product. CCP’s can be based upon Established food safety principles or published research, Legislative requirements and are ideally be measurable and quantitative. It is not enough to simply check the finalised product; each critical step in the process for a product needs to be regarded.

 

Example: Chicken sandwich.

A cooked chicken sandwich is produced for wholesale to a café. A critical element regarding the safety of the customer consuming that sandwich would be is the chicken cooked correctly to avoid food poisoning? A CCP control would be measuring the internal temperature (74oC for 15 seconds) of the chicken before it is placed in the sandwich.

 

CCP’s between businesses and industries will be unique and all must be considered within the context of the business, its industry and operating environment.

Want more information on HACCP certification? Contact our friendly and knowledgeable team for help.

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Guide to Management Review http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-management-review/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-management-review/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:48:55 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6596 Conducting regular management reviews are a compulsory requirement for both getting and maintaining your ISO9001 Quality Management certification. However, they don’t need to be a tedious, “chore”. We’ve come up… read more →

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Conducting regular management reviews are a compulsory requirement for both getting and maintaining your ISO9001 Quality Management certification. However, they don’t need to be a tedious, “chore”. We’ve come up with a few tips for getting the most out of your ISO9001 Quality Management review meetings and how to make them more engaging and valuable.

 

But what is it meant to look like?  

Our auditors often get clients asking what an ISO9001 management review is supposed to look like. A common first impression is the traditional sit down around the table style “board” meeting. The ISO9001 management standard does not specify any requirements about the structure or the “how” management reviews are to be conducted.

As long as you can demonstrate to your auditor that;

  • management review has occurred and;
  • provide evidence of the management review

It can take whatever form works best for your business. This is particularly useful if your management team are in different areas around the country or travel often; e.g Head of Quality based in Sydney with a Managing Director based in Melbourne or prefer to work remotely.

A common piece of feedback from clients is that management reviews conducted offsite in a less formal setting are generally more effective and engaging than the traditional let’s all sit around a board room table. Think about holding your reviews out of the office or site to keep the management team focused.

 

So what do we have to talk about?

The ISO9001 standard is much clearer on what is required to be covered for a management review as opposed to what they need to look like.

The first thing you need to consider is the changes both within your business (internal) and changes in the industry and operating environment (external) that will have impacts on your quality management system. These could include things like hiring of new staff or offering a new product range or service or for external issues changes in regulations or new competitors in your market.

A management review also requires you to cover the following key components of your ISO9001 Quality management system

  • customer satisfaction and stakeholder feedback
  • quality objectives performance
  • product performance and conformity
  • nonconformance and corrective action
  • monitoring and measurement including audits
  • external providers
  • process performance and conformity of products
  • services and;
  • adequacy of resources`

 

Tip: Think about these reviews as an opportunity to improve your business and drive business development

ISO9001 requires management review to cover; actions taken regarding risk and opportunity, improvement of the QMS and opportunities for improvement. Approaching a management review as a business development review can drive further improvements and help achieve organisational goals.

If this isn’t your first management review then don’t forget to cover the status of actions identified in your previous management review.

ISO9001 is a business management and systems standard – it is designed to ensure business are operating optimally and be a great tool for business development and improvement if approached with the right mindset.

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Your Guide to ISO14001 certification: Environmental risks http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-iso-14001-certification-environmental-risks/ http://compassassurance.com.au/blog/guide-iso-14001-certification-environmental-risks/#respond Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:30:30 +0000 http://compassassurance.com.au/?p=6590 It’s time for the next instalment in our new blog series; Your Guide to ISO140001 Certification. In the last post we covered a range of useful tips to identify your… read more →

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It’s time for the next instalment in our new blog series; Your Guide to ISO140001 Certification. In the last post we covered a range of useful tips to identify your environmental outputs, an essential component of getting ISO14001 Environmental certification. If you haven’t read this post yet you can check it out below. Now it is time to take a look at your environmental risks and how they impact your environmental management system (EMS).

Your guide to ISO14001 Certification: Your Environmental outputs

The next thing that needs to/could occur is to consider the risk associated with each of these interactions. It can be useful here to take a safety based concept of risk when considering the risks associated with your environmental interactions and their impacts. An example of an acceptable risk could be I have an interaction with the environment because I use my car to travel between client’s locations however I am a small business with only one or a few vehicles which I operate and maintain efficiently to reduce C02 omissions this level of risk would be considered acceptable.

 

When considering what makes a risk acceptable or not is to consider the controls that can be put in place as part of the environmental management system to reduce this risk and whether or not this adds value to your system.You also need to think about what other stakeholders both internal and external to your business want to see. For example your business may pride themselves on being Co2 emission conscientious and may wish to see some further controls or changes put around the use or types of vehicles the business uses. This would add value to your management system.

 

It is also key to consider what your clients want to see. If your clients value how you manage an environmental output – be it air or noise pollutions, or run off into waterways, it would add value to your business and management system to place appropriate/adequate controls around that output. Legal requirements also need to be included, it is essential your business is aware of what the law requires you to do regarding environmental outputs.

 

“What do your clients say? What does the law say?”

 

Example: A client may only wish to use local suppliers to reflect a concern around the amount of energy needed to transport supplies from out of state or internationally whereas a business operating in the same industry may not see the value in only using local suppliers and therefore would not integrate this output into their environmental management system.

This also emphasis that a business’s EMS is truly unique to that business, no two would be identical as different operators and clients will have different environmental concerns and values.

If you haven’t already and think you are ready for certification contact us now and request a quick quote including answers to all your questions on everything ISO14001 certification.

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