Follow standard practices to get consistent results

Forgetting to follow standard practices when driving can result in an accident and ticket. Photo: Fermilab

By finding what actions work best to get a task done and then making those actions the norm; we create a set of standard practices that allow us to get expected results for many of our daily activities at home and at work.

An example of standard practices is traffic rules for the use of the road. By using these practices, we get the desired result of safely arriving at our destination. When these practices are not followed, the results may be a ticket or worse.

At Fermilab, standard practices are used to achieve the same result efficiently and consistently. This ensures safe and high-quality work. The Integrated Quality Assurance manual encourages written procedures to ensure quality “for activities of sufficient complexity or potential hazard.”

The more critical the task is to a job, the greater the need to create explicit standard practices and follow them. When starting a new task, check to see if your department or division has a set of standard practices for that task that you should follow. Some practices may be written down in manuals or memos as work instructions. The Office of Quality and Business Practices encourages the use of standard practices and assesses if those practices are followed throughout the laboratory.

It is in all of our best interests to follow standard practices or make suggestions for how those practices may be improved to get more consistent results. If you have questions or ideas or improvements, contact your quality assurance representative.

–edited by Tom King