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Learn the Difference between Quality Assurance and Safety Assurance

Within all industries, both quality and safety management are crucial concepts. Both are interlinked in terms of their importance in product development. To assure both, organisations need a well-planned approach and resources. Also, both aim at making the products/services valuable to the customers to ensure they are fully satisfied.

Overall, both quality and safety assurance involve the key processes and employees of the organisation and together they help to strive for continual improvement of products/services. However, we are here to help you learn about the difference between quality assurance and safety assurance. Even though both aim at improving your products or services, they involve different functional elements of your business. Also, there are separate standards for quality and safety assurance despite both being interrelated. Let’s learn the root differences between the two concepts.

Purposes of Quality and Safety Assurance

Quality assurance or quality management is about overseeing the processes in a business as well as the final products/services to ensure they are in compliance with the specific requirements. Quality assurance firstly requires your organisation to implement a Quality Management System (QMS) and then involves audits or periodic inspections of the system. Quality assurance hence means ensuring whether the QMS is operating as expected i.e., helping to govern your processes and output. It is also about ensuring the QMS is in line with the requirements of a quality standard. With quality assurance methods, you are able to generate key insights on your processes and identify any nonconformity in your products or services. Using all the findings, you can correct the issues or nonconformities and ensure quality compliance with your products/services.

Safety management or assurance on the other hand is about looking at the risk exposure or vulnerabilities in your business. Risks are identified as incidents that can affect your business both tangibly and intangibly such as workplace injuries, defective products, fire, loss in revenues, market volatility, and negative publicity. Safety assurance is about looking at internal and external weaknesses of your business to identify the areas that are exposed to risks. Safety assurance methods include performing risk assessments, doing a root cause analysis, maintaining incident records, and undertaking corrective and preventive actions.

Standards for Quality and Safety Assurance

There is one general standard for quality assurance, ISO 9001, which is internationally known and accepted by organisations of all types. However, there are industry-specific standards for quality assurance such as AS9100 for aerospace businesses and ISO 13485 for medical device companies. These standards add some requirements that are specific to their products above the requirements of the general ISO 9001 standard.

Unlike quality assurance which is achieved by complying with a single generic standard, safety assurance requires an organisation to comply with a number of standards such as ISO 45001, ISO 14001, ISO 31000, ISO 27001, and ISO 22301. These are various standards addressing different forms of risks in a business such as occupational health and safety risks, environmental risks, operational risks, stakeholder risks, information security risks, and sudden business continuity risks.

How Quality and Safety Assurance works in the Management System

A management system is an integral set of processes that help organisations get data and crucial information on their operations. Those findings are used to identify the key issues in the operations and are classified as quality issues, security issues, safety issues, human resource issues, accounts issues, and so on.

When the findings are analysed and processed in brief reports, the reports are used by the organisation to evaluate the root cause, corrective actions plan needed, and update their QMS or safety management practices. This process continues leading to continual improvement of the quality assurance and safety assurance methods.

Interplay of Quality and Safety Assurance in Business

In every business, quality assurance and safety assurance programs are handled differently and by different departments. However, safety managers must take care of both quality and safety issues by performing frequent risk assessments across their operations, workplaces, finances, information systems, environment, and supply chain agents.

The key principles that underlie both quality and safety assurance processes are finding issues, identifying the root cause, taking actions to remedy issues, and reviewing the actions.

Concluding Thoughts

Though we pointed out the difference between quality assurance and safety assurance in business in this blog, we have also provided the similarities between the two. Clearly, both are attained through different approaches in a business, but their purpose remains the same—making products or services of better quality that exceeds the expectations of the customers consistently and serves the interests of the stakeholders. Also, both types of assurance are essential for a business’s growth and progress. While quality assurance makes your products/services more superior in the market and makes you more competitive, safety assurance protects your employees, environment, stakeholders, and results in business continuity.

To implement a quality assurance standard, a safety assurance standard, or both in your organisation, Compliancehelp is the best team of experts to reach out to! We are professional assurance consultants in Australia that can provide you with the necessary assistance and compliance maintenance services for whichever quality or safety management standard you want to achieve.

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