The Importance of Statistics in Quality Control and Safety Improvement

Quality control and statistical quality assurance represent increasingly important managerial concerns for project planners. With few exceptions, it is nearly impossible to meet desired project goals when elements of quality are lacking. Minor flaws or deficiencies in built facilities can cause significant, albeit temporary, cost savings. Even with few minor faults, re-construction can be necessary and facility operations impaired.

Quality improvement requires statistical quality control. Quality management focuses on the identification, as well as the control, of good and bad qualities in products and services. Control, however, involves more than simply making decisions about what to sell. It is also about making decisions about how to sell those goods and services to the public and about how to get the most profit for them. The concept of statistical quality control is intimately related to the efforts of management to improve quality through statistical methods.

In the construction industry, statistical quality control is usually referred to as “insuring the construction.” How does a construction company ensure construction quality? Construction managers use several approaches to assure that quality is attained. One strategy is to follow guidelines established by a regulating agency such as OSHA. Another strategy is to contract with a regulating agency to ensure compliance with overall guidelines. Still another strategy is to follow recommendations made by managers who oversee the construction project.

When an insurer uses statistical methods to insure construction projects, one of the steps involves determining both materials specifications and construction methods. An important part of this process involves identifying risks in the processes and materials used in the building project. Then, using appropriate statistical methods, hazards are identified and methods are developed for reducing those risks. Methods may include: ensuring that materials provide for stability; using quality control measures such as controlling and monitoring processes; making sure that methods and practices are followed consistently; documenting progress and deficiencies in defects and process improvements.

In order to ensure statistical quality control, material specifications and the construction process should be well defined. Not only must these specifications be accurate but they must be consistent throughout the construction process. In addition, these specifications must account for changes that may affect the construction process as it progresses. Once material specifications and the construction process are defined, managers can then apply methods to reduce variability and control risk. The final step is to insure that all parts and components of the project comply with specifications and quality control requirements.

Many construction companies experience a wide variety of unexpected accidents, injuries, and illnesses on a regular basis. Some of these illnesses are preventable, while others are not. In order to avoid unnecessary construction payouts for injuries that could have been prevented, many contractors incorporate prevention methods into their quality control systems. These steps, coupled with accurate material and work detail information, help to ensure that these unexpected events are not a part of any construction payouts.

Having good quality control and statistical quality improvement programs is only part of the construction process. There are other equally important factors to consider when it comes to safety. Inspectors must make sure that all required personnel are on hand and that workers and supervisors are following proper safety protocol. Inspectors should also check that construction site activities follow all local and federal regulations, including those that protect employees from work-related illnesses and injuries.

In addition to having good statistical quality control with sampling by trained inspectors, project managers should also have good communication skills with all parties involved in the project. Effective communication improves project management’s ability to identify risks and avoid unnecessary spending on unnecessary projects. It also leads to timely action to minimize the occurrence of large expenses. Finally, communication improves the relationship between employees, contractors, and owners. When one knows what the others think, they too are better able to use their resources wisely and keep projects on schedule and under budget.

The Importance of Statistics in Quality Control and Safety Improvement
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