Successful Integrated Management System Implementation Project!

A very shiny Great Western Recycling lorry! This size and type of lorry is subject to regular inspections, annual LOLER Thorough Examinations and must also be driven on under a CPC qualification.

Great Western Recycling are a local waste management company based in Keynsham on the outskirts of Bristol who supply a full range of water management and recycling services to commercial and business customers across the region. Great Western Recycling are a small but growing company and wanted to gain access to larger projects and tenders and needed the full suite of certifications to do so. With a deadline set by a large tender which required certification to ISO 9001:2015 (quality management) ISO 14001:2015 (environmental management) and ISO 45001:2018 (occupational health and safety management) we embarked on the project in January and had gained certification by the end of April! 

Due to the size of the company and the daily close communications between the Directors, there was very little in the way of documented processes so we recorded information into two key documents, the IMS Manual and the Occupation Health and Safety Arrangements. We kept things as simple and straightforward as possible so that tasks were being carried out in a consistent way across the business without burdening everybody with bureaucracy.

A large part of the project related to the selection and management of sub-contractors which Great Western Recycling use for the majority of the waste collections. We developed an ‘Approved List’ of sub-contractors from the existing records, then began to carry out research on line (particularly the Environment Agency Public Registers) and request information relating to quality, environmental, occupational health and safety management. We also carried out various ‘Duty of Care’ checks to make sure that all waste collections were being transported and disposed of properly. 

Unfortunately, the Covid 19 pandemic and associated lockdown then arrived, which threw a rather large spanner into the middle of our project plan! We overcame this by setting up a shared GoogleDrive folder for all the project documents, using the structure I have developed and now use for all my clients:

  • Level 1 Policy statements
  • Level 2 Management Information
  • Level 3 ‘topic buckets’ for everything from ‘Audits’ to ‘Vehicle Records’ 

We were then all able to work on the documents while communicating through a varying combination of Zoom, WhatsApp and email. We then had to complete the implementation internal audits via Zoom before the Stage 2 Certification Body audit and using a lot of screensharing (and when things got really desperate, waving bits of paper at the camera!), I was able to evidence the entire customer journey from initial enquiry through to contract set up, delivery of the bins, first collection and customer satisfaction survey. 

Of course, our Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits by ISOQAR (our chosen Certification Body) then had to be carried out remotely too, I think we were all apprehensive about this (the thought of spending 5 days on Zoom did not appeal!) but it actually worked really well and although I don’t think remote auditing can entirely replace site visits (particularly for occupational health and safety), there is certainly scope to reduce the amount of miles driven (and carbon emitted) by carrying out a combination of remote and site audits – particularly at Stage 1. We were all very pleased to receive some excellent feedback from the auditor:

Overall, the auditor would like to say that the company have implemented an incredibly good CMS and the level of documentation allowed to the auditor has been very well provided and forthcoming. The level of this documentation has also been very detailed and thorough.

It was a pleasure to work with the Directors at Great Western Recycling on this project, who were all very committed and involved with the process and I was delighted to receive the following testimonial:

Helen was instrumental to us gaining our certifications in a such a tight time frame, she walked us through the entire process and explained it all along the way. The implementation project has resulted in an integrated management system that is embedded in the way we do business, is straightforward to use and will also support our growth plans for the future. It's all great and we are really pleased with it! 

Project Details

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