Home' Inclean : INCLEAN May-Jun 2017 Contents 90 INCLEAN May/June 2017
Quality management standard –
The risk and opportunity concept
Dr Denis Boulais* weighs in
on the risks and opportunities
when it comes to safety
management systems in the
commercial cleaning industry.
The AS/NZS ISO 9001 is a standard
that sets out the requirements for a
quality management system.
It assists organisations to be more
effective, efficient and improve
The AS/NZS ISO 9001: 2008 has
been replaced by the AS/NZS ISO 2016 and many organisations
are in the process of transitioning.
This standard is reviewed five yearly and revised if needed.
This ensures that the standard remains a useful tool for the
workplace as the challenges organisations face tend to change
over time. Customer expectations increase, there is greater access
to information, and globalisation is changing the way many
organisations conduct their business.
This latest AS/NZS ISO 9001 standard emphasises a strong
focus on risk-based thinking and in my opinion has three key
benefits for the cleaning industry:
• A stronger emphasis upon leadership management
• Addresses organisational risks and opportunities in a more
• Introduces a core structure in line with other ISO-based
My suggestion would be to read and understand the document,
conduct a gap analysis, develop an implementation plan and
update any existing quality management system.
I am of the opinion that this latest AS/NZS ISO 9001 calls
for the development and implementation of an ‘organisational
risk management register’ which identifies and addresses
organisational risks and opportunities.
For me personally, this register development took a long time
because when one truly thinks it through, there are many risks
and opportunities for an organisation. Reflecting upon my
register I believe a significant risk for a cleaning organisation is
the indemnity clauses many cleaning organisations sign into.
A significant opportunity is the concept of a positive, proactive
and preventative safety management program and its working
relationship with a positive, proactive and assertive injury
management program that may result in significant workers
compensation premium savings via reduced incidents and time lost.
Indemnities (A risk)
In order to win business, many cleaning organisations sign
into contracts with indemnity clauses without giving the risk a
second thought. The legal advice I have been provided is that to
indemnify or to give an indemnity is a very serious commitment.
It is in effect, offering to hold someone harmless should a
particular event occur (much the same way that an insurer does).
The event may not have been caused by any wrong doing of
the indemnifying party (in fact, it may have been caused by a
wrong doing of the indemnified party). Now the indemnity may
not be subject to any limitation or exclusion under an agreement
yet has the potential to unleash absolute cost carnage upon an
organisation should any such clauses be triggered.
Furthermore, I commonly stumble across many hidden
indemnities which can easily bring a cleaning organisation
undone should an event occur and certain clauses be triggered.
An indemnity is hence in theory an excellent strategy in passing
risk with respect to an event to another party to an agreement.
It is important that the terms of an indemnity should never be
considered as standard and such clauses should always be very
carefully read and understood before being agreed to. Where
one is not sure of the meaning of an indemnity then legal advice
should always be sought.
Risk and injury management
It’s important to ensure one’s safety management system
complies with a relevant standard such as AS/NZS 4801 OHSMS
(Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems).
It is also important to develop and implement policy with clear
objectives, targets and measures and when auditing subsequent
procedures – ensuring there is an equal amount of desktop to onsite
auditing so the procedural system is truly reflected in the field.
Consultation is also a vital consideration where its legal
compliance is absolutely crucial. In the cleaning industry, where
many sites may exist with smaller pockets of cleaners, then the
traditional safety committee concept may not be viable and
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