The plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle is a well-known model for continual improvement in organisations and can be applied to any industry sector.
The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle follows the 4-step process; to plan an action, do it, check to see how it conforms to the plan; and then act on what has been learnt.
Walter A. Shewhart first discussed the concept of PDCA in his 1939 book, Statistical Method From the Viewpoint of Quality Control, and it draws its structure from the idea that constant evaluation of management practices, as well as the willingness of management to adopt and disregard unsupported ideas, is key to the evolution of a successful business.
The PDCA model operates as a cycle of continual improvement, with risk‐based thinking at each stage. It supports the process approach in ISO standards e.g. 9001:2015 – Quality Management System, 14001 - Environmental Management, 45001 - Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems.
Does PDCA apply to Health & Safety Management?
The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a highly effective methodology for Health & Safety; it helps a business to consistently identify and control its Health & Safety risks, reduce the potential for incidents, help achieve compliance with Health & Safety legislation and continually improve its performance.
As a minimum with the PDCA model, you should have the processes and procedures required to meet the legal requirements, including:
- a written health & safety policy (if you employ five or more people)
- assessments of the risks to employees, contractors, customers and any other people who could be affected by your activities
- record the significant findings in writing (if you employ five or more people). Any risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’
- arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures that come from risk assessment
- access to competent health & safety advice
- providing employees with information about the risks in your workplace and how they are protected
- instruction and training for employees in how to deal with the risks
- ensuring there is adequate and appropriate supervision in place
- consulting with employees about their risks at work and current preventive and protective measures
PDCA effectively helps you keep this up-to-date, operational and relevant to the business risks.
How Does BCarm Support PDCA?
The BCarm Management System can be deployed across your business in minutes, delivering day-to-day functionality, visibility and accountability to your risk management process.
The Health & Safety Management System allows the task of protecting employees and the workplace to be shared across the organisation, with real-time reporting and visibility for management that can drive the activity that builds a safer culture.
How it supports Plan-Do-Check-Act
Plan – the Health & Safety arrangements that will form the structure of the business’s risk management activity, these could be a combination of
- Health & Safety policies
- Risk Assessments
- Proactive monitoring schedules of Risk Assessments to ensure control measures are operative
- Training, including E Learning, Toolbox Talks and Safety Briefings
- Completion of Checklists
- Safe Systems of Works
- Incident Reporting and Investigation
- Reporting structure
- Management Performance Data
Do – Complete the pre-defined activities as shown above at the required frequencies. These activities are driven by task functionality in the system, e.g. monitoring control measures identified in a risk assessment on a monthly basis. Some activities such as Monitoring of Risk Assessments and completion of Checklists, generate lead performance metrics so you can actually quantify your performance in certain aspects of “Do”. BCarm also produces a full audit trail of all of your activity, which then helps drive the next component of PDCA, "Check".
Check – that the business is compliant with the Health & Safety arrangements defined at the ‘Plan’ stage, this is achieved through the generation of ‘performance metrics’ in the system easily accessed through the real-time reporting menu creating visibility and accountability in the business at multiple levels.
BCarm also delivers Management Alerts which will notify you when things are or aren’t done or when certain performance levels are breached. This means that “Check” can be real-time and not a retrospective review or audit process.
Act – When there is the need for “Corrective Action” arising out of “Check” this can be immediately captured ask a task that is allocated to an individual to address.
This activity is fully trackable and can also require that supporting information be provided when the task is marked as complete.
More information about the Plan-Do-Check-Act
To see how this would work in your business, or if you have any questions about the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, get in touch.