written by Maree Stuart
As we head into the silly season, we’re delighted to present:
The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas!
On the first day of Christmas, we found our procedures hadn’t been reviewed for 2 years.
Lab documents provide essential guidelines and references for what we do. They allow us to review our activities and train staff.
Even more importantly, they provide proof that our testing and calibrations are accurate and reliable. This information is critical for external accreditation and audit bodies but also for our clients.
Staying on top of it
Since documents do provide those guidelines, they need to be current. Those pieces of information about processes, policies and procedures are like a roadmap for your lab.
To continue the analogy, without clear, concise, and up-to-date instructions you could find your staff heading for an unintended destination.
What if I’ve never reviewed my procedures?
We get it – you have to start somewhere!
Start by thinking about which are the most important procedures in your organisation. In a lab, this is often your test or calibration methods. After all, these documents codify the processes which deliver your “product”, lab results.
You could use your risk management system to help to prioritise the review.
Remember, many hands make light work, so put those hands to use.
Ask staff working in the area to review the procedures for their patch.
You could also look at the results of any internal and external audits to determine if there is anything that was out of sync between the documented procedure and the performance of the process.
It’s important that the review includes an analysis of any current reference document, like a Standard, against what you have been doing in the lab.
Is everything still consistent between the Standard and your practices?
Once you’ve completed a review of the procedures, think about what this means for any work that’s been done in the past 2 years, or whenever the last review was completed.
Can you put your hand on your heart and confirm compliance with a Standard?
What are the consequences to your clients?
Using the Deming cycle of Plan-Do Check-Act can help you through this phase.
If your team is small and overwhelmed with the income-earning work, then you could outsource at least the development of the program for review to us.
We can also review and update your procedures on a regular basis.
Let us help get you started!
Remember, you don’t have to do this alone!