Corey Brown’s picture

By: Corey Brown

Lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are common in industrial and manufacturing environments. Despite this, failure to adequately train employees on LOTO procedures continues to be one of the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) top 10 most frequently cited violations during federal inspections.

To write an effective LOTO procedure requires both an understanding of OSHA’s guidelines, as well as good communication and training practices. By combining these strategies, manufacturing companies can ensure the health and safety of their workforce while maintaining operational efficiency.

Multiple Authors
By: Stephen M. Hahn, Amy P. Abernethy

During a short period of time, our society has seen a rapid increase in the interest and availability of cannabidiol (CBD) products and other products derived from cannabis. However, we still have a limited understanding of the safety profile of CBD and many other cannabis-derived compounds, including potential safety risks for people and animals.

At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, we see these knowledge gaps as an opportunity to develop new ways of building the science to inform public health decisions.

Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man’s picture

By: Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man

There are two ways to increase profits: increase sales or reduce costs. Although most data analysis seeks to find more ways to sell more stuff to more people, addressing preventable problems is an often overlooked opportunity. Preventable problems consume a third or more of corporate expenses and profits.

Data analysis can pinpoint problems and eliminate them forever. Problem solving with data is a much more reliable and controllable way to cut costs and increase profits. Sadly, few people know how to do this consistently.

How do you solve operational problems with 100-percent success rate? Take out the guesswork. The vast majority of improvement projects involve reducing or eliminating defects, mistakes, and errors. If you have raw data about when the defect occurred, where it happened, and what type of defect it was, you can create a world-class improvement project that eliminates the guesswork. And you can do it using a tool you most likely already have: Microsoft Excel.

Michelle LaBrosse’s picture

By: Michelle LaBrosse

Do you find the idea of having to do project management almost as much fun as getting a root canal? If so, you’re not alone. But it doesn’t have to be as bad as a painful dental procedure to adopt more effective ways of managing your projects.

Nor does it have to be extremely boring or some type of mandatory activity folks know is good for them, but no one wants to take the time to do. That is the problem with how many good people approach what passes for “project management.”

Often, project management approaches seem to be to satisfy some bureaucratic mandate issued from on high.

In other words, someone somewhere thought someone else improving how they did their projects would be a great idea.

This is the lip-service approach to project management. It doesn’t grasp the why or how of effective project management.

Effective project management is essentially effective leadership

Here are 10 tips to be a more effective leader when doing your projects:

1. Start far fewer projects. Yes, you read that correctly. When you take the time to do a thorough feasibility analysis, establish the cost-benefit analysis, and evaluate the potential risks you could encounter, it’s likely most projects won’t even get off the starting block. This is a very good thing.

Grant Ramaley’s picture

By: Grant Ramaley

As the 2020 pandemic threatened world health, a large number of unscrupulous companies began generating fake International Organization for Standardization (ISO) quality management system (QMS) certificates in an attempt to fool governments into buying personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, thermometers, and Covid-19 test kits. The credibility of ISO 13485 certificates used to certify medical devices suddenly became a crisis.

Aside from the obvious fake certificates, other companies were paying to get certificates with little or no oversight as to how they were earned. If the goal of getting certified is to gain worldwide recognition, it’s important to understand what makes an ISO certificate valid, especially when paying thousands of dollars for an ISO QMS certificate that may not be considered valid by ISO. Companies may think they are getting a credible certificate but find themselves exposed later when trying to sell their products to those who require certificates issued from accredited certification bodies.

Drew Calvert’s picture

By: Drew Calvert

For the past decade, policymakers and nongovernmental organizations have pushed for greater transparency in supply chains, with the goal of encouraging more responsible sourcing practices. The Dodd-Frank Act, for example, required firms to disclose their suppliers’ involvement with any “conflict minerals” such as gold, tin, or tantalum, a metal used in phones and computers. More recently, France passed legislation to ensure carbon emissions reporting.

At the same time, many companies have pledged to be more vigilant and open about protecting the people who manufacture their products. After the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013—a building collapse that killed more than a thousand garment and textile workers—a number of brands joined a coalition to hold their suppliers accountable.

MIT News’s picture

By: MIT News

Buildings account for about 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption, and are responsible for one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions. Making buildings more energy-efficient is not only a cost-saving measure, but also a crucial climate-change mitigation strategy. Hence the rise of “smart” buildings, which are increasingly becoming the norm around the world.

Smart buildings automate systems like heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, electricity, and security. Automation requires sensory data, such as indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, and occupancy status. Smart buildings leverage data in a combination of technologies that can make them more energy-efficient.

Since HVAC systems account for nearly half of a building’s energy use, smart buildings use smart thermostats, which automate HVAC controls and can learn the temperature preferences of a building’s occupants.

Matthew Bundy’s picture

By: Matthew Bundy

Untitled Document


Burning plastic cart carrying a fax machine, a laptop computer, and a three-ring binder. Click here for larger image. Credit: FCD/NIST

Several centuries ago, scientists discovered oxygen while experimenting with combustion and flames. One scientist called it “fire air.” Today, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), we continue to measure oxygen to study the behavior of fires.

Zach Winn’s picture

By: Zach Winn

These days businesses have enough to worry about without thinking about their insurance. Unfortunately, tasks like managing insurance claims and completing annual renewals require a lot of thinking.

The startup Newfront Insurance is seeking to modernize the industry with digital tools that simplify insurance processes for brokers and businesses. The company’s platform automates tedious administrative processes for brokers while streamlining a number of repetitive tasks that have traditionally taken up customers’ time and headspace.

“More than half of a broker’s day is filled with administrative work—filling out forms, data entry, following up with underwriters—stuff they don’t like and they’re not very good at,” Newfront co-founder and CTO Gordon Wintrob says. “If you look at the rest of a broker’s day, it’s this really high-value consulting work where they’re understanding what clients are thinking about, what they care about, what the growth prospects are for the next one, three, and five years, and helping them grapple with the challenges they’re facing.”

ASQ’s picture

By: ASQ

The leading global association for quality professionals, ASQ, announces that Ann Jordan has been confirmed as the society’s CEO, effective immediately. Jordan has served as interim CEO since January 2020. She joined ASQ in 2017 as general counsel and has worked extensively with the board of directors to develop and drive strategic growth and business transformation initiatives.

“Ann’s leadership has been critical over the past year as ASQ navigated the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on our membership,” says 2021 ASQ chair, Janet Raddatz. “Her substantial knowledge in business operations and dedication to delivering greater member value allowed the society to overcome remarkable obstacles and look ahead to the advancement of the mission of quality.”


Ann Jordan has been confirmed as the ASQ’s new CEO

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