Standards – Ensuring Compliance, Quality and Productivity
Standards, which are designed to ensure best practice, are either voluntarily implemented within an organisation, are mandated by an organisation to its suppliers or mandated by an industry.
Standards are designed to be a benchmark and minimum best practice to ensure the quality and safety of products and services, creating consistency for businesses, employees and their customers.
When applied and utilised practically, standards bring net benefits to an organisation and the community, including:
- Economic (longer lasting assets, better running costs and improved productivity)
- Health and safety
- Social, environmental and community
- Boost Confidence
- Enhance Innovation
- Reduce Red Tape
Dealing with an accredited organisation will save time, reduce costs and ensure regulatory compliance
Industries such as Mining, Materials handling, Rail and Defence can significantly benefit from dealing with a supplier who meets or exceeds standards for materials, manufacturing, testing, maintenance, servicing and certification.
I’ll talk about mining equipment as an example (as that’s a big part of what our company does). Standards such as the AS 3637 series, AS 3751 and the AS3785 series can be mandated by the regulator and stipulate several minimum levels that must be achieved in materials used in manufacturing, how they are manufactured and levels/frequency of testing that must be carried out through the equipment’s life. Apart from the obvious conformance to regulations, by working with a supplier who is an expert in and accredited to relevant standards, your organisation will significantly benefit economically, safely, socially and environmentally.
For example, lifting and hoisting equipment using the specified quality steel and manufactured in an accredited facility in Australia is going to set you up with a more reliable, longer lasting asset. Add in the stipulated non-destructive testing (including proof loading and magnetic particle testing), as well as the required maintenance regime; your asset’s life, reliability and safety will be even further enhanced.
It therefore makes good business sense to deal with a supplier who has the capabilities to design, manufacture, test, maintain, repair and service at or better than the standards and as a bonus, can provide the necessary certifications and help manage the asset life cycle. It makes it a whole lot easier to manage your assets and it makes safety and economic sense as well.
As defined by Standards Australia, ‘Standards are voluntary documents that set out specifications, procedures and guidelines that aim to ensure products, services and systems are safe, consistent and reliable.’
There are three categories of standards:
- International Standards – These are developed by ISO, IEC and ITU for countries to adopt for national use.
- Regional Standards – These are prepared by a specific region, such as the European Union’s EN standard or joint Australian/New Zealand standards.
- National Standards – These are developed either by a national standards body, like Standards Australia, or other accredited bodies.
When using standards, whether they are voluntary or mandated, there 4 key definitions consistent throughout all standards; shall, should, normative and informative.
To claim conformance to any standard you must comply with all clauses containing a ‘shall’ requirement and normative appendices. Clauses with ‘should’ or informative appendices may be a suggestion, recommendation, commentary or guidance.
For me, there have been many personal and business instances where I have seen standards play a vital role:
- Children – as a parent it sometimes feels like their main aim in life is to challenge my ability to keep them alive. Items, such as helmets and public playground equipment, are manufactured to Australian and international standards ensuring their quality and safety, whilst providing parents with some peace of mind.
- Our customers – There are many instances where our customers have avoided days or even weeks of valuable downtime and extended their asset life due to dealing with an organisation that is certified and delivers above and beyond the requirements.
- Workplace safety – Every day our team strive for a zero-harm workplace. There are so many standards that positively impact the safety in the workplace, including electrical, equipment, inspections/maintenance, plumbing, systems of work, PPE and fire safety just to name a few.
About Reliance Hexham & Standards
We design, manufacture (Steel Forging and fabrication), test, repair and certify to a range of standards as required by our customers and/or their industries and/or their stakeholders. We specialise in rope attachments, lifting equipment, couplings and draw bars; drift and shaft conveyances as well as specialised equipment.
- We are a NATA approved testing laboratory accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 for Non-Destructive & Mechanical Testing. For more information please refer to our NDT Scope of Accreditation and our Mechanical Scope of Accreditation.
- Reliance Hexham have represented Australian Industry Group on Standards Committee ME-018 (Mining Equipment) since 2003. Being a member of this committee means we contribute to the development and maintenance of the standards within the committee’s portfolio. Standards in the portfolio for ME-018 include the AS 3637 series, AS 3751 and AS3785 series.
- Our quality management system is certified to ISO 9001:2015 by SAI Global
- I was a participant in the Standards Australian Young Leaders Program 2017/2018
Do you know what standards are applicable in your organisation?
Are you aware of the mandates in your industry?
Do you know the full economic and safety benefit of dealing with an accredited supplier?
Author: Lauren Meldrum, HSEQ Manager – Reliance Hexham Pty Limited