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PRESS RELEASE: Unite-X Gets Certified for Data Security

February 17, 2022, Amsterdam Netherlands

Unite-X, Amsterdam, Netherlands, a provider of cloud-based safety management software, announced it has achieved ISAE 3402 Type II certification, the world-class standard for data security and compliance, based on an independent third-party audit.

Unite-X is trusted by many large enterprises globally, including leaders in the processing and chemical industries, to organize, optimize and digitalize their safety processes.

“We commit to maintaining the highest security due to contractual obligations with our customers to protect their information, and global regulations like GDPR and CCPA about processing personal data”, says Dmitrii Malyshev, the CTO at Unite-X who ruled the process of audit.

About ISAE 3402 type 2
ISAE stands for International Standard on Assurance Engagements. ISAE 3402 is an international assurance standard that describes Service Organization Control engagements, which provides assurance to an organization’s customer that the service organization has adequate internal controls.

ISAE 3402 puts more emphasis on procedures for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of control over data security, including the team education system.

Particularly ISAE 3402 Type II is a type of audit report, that refers to documenting how the process of control is performed over a certain period of time (typically 12 months).

An ISAE 3402 audit certificate includes an audit report performed by independent third-party representatives. The certificate confirms that Unite-X is compliant with the highest standard of internal control over data security and can be regarded as a quality criterion of Unite-X as a service provider.

It also pays for a customer to contract with a service provider that holds an ISAE 3402 certificate: the auditor of the customer can rely on the certificate of the service organization, resulting in a reduced necessary audit budget.

About auditing process
The Unite-X data environment has been developed over several years on a foundation of the highest security principles and has evolved into a mature environment compliant with ISAE 3402 through continuous improvement and employee engagement.

Unite-X was audited and certified during the period between July 2021 and February 2022.

According to Dmitrii Malyshev, “Our system is processing sensitive operational data of the plant, so the highest degree of security and privacy is absolutely critical. Our large enterprise customers, have very stringent IT requirements.”

About Unite-X
Unite-X provides a cloud-based safety management solution that unifies critical safety processes on one integrated platform. Unite-X supports global enterprises across processing, chemical, and food industries, including DSM, Sabic, Cargill, etc. The fully configurable solution forms a transparent, and compliant safety environment while optimizing key safety procedures by making them lean and risk-free.

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“We must accept human error is inevitable
– and design around that fact.

Donald Berwick

What is Quality in Safety?

And how to approach it from the perspective of Operational Safety Excellence. 

What is Quality?

Quality, in a broad sense, refers to producing goods or services that meet specified standards or criteria. It involves adherence to statistical bandwidth and ensuring that processes are carried out within defined parameters. Using terminology from the Lean methodology, the presence of excessive operational waste also indicates a lack of quality (Do you have too much waste? Then you are low on quality.)

Essentially, quality encompasses various aspects of a product, setting the foundation for its definition.

We have prepared an infographic explaining how to achieve Quality in 8 steps. Access it directly via this link!

However, when discussing Safety, the discourse inevitably turns toward the aspect of the quality of individuals. Within this domain, we encounter two distinctive facets of people quality — collective and individual.

The collective quality often intertwines with organizational culture, posing questions about the skill levels and behavioral tendencies of the workforce. Is there a pervasive culture of quality in safety? How adept are individuals at adhering to safety protocols?

Simultaneously, the lens narrows down to scrutinize the quality of individual people. This involves an examination of their specific skill levels and the alignment of their actions with prescribed procedures. Consequently, in the aftermath of a serious incident, the initial feedback often revolves around the notion of human error.

When root-cause analysis is misleading?

When it comes to addressing incidents, especially those with severe consequences, the first response is almost always to blame a human error.

A stark example that underscores this is the tragic Bhopal industrial accident of 1984. This catastrophic event unfolded when a tank containing 42 tons of methyl isocyanate experienced a runaway chemical reaction due to water ingress, leading to a staggering number of casualties.

The initial response of a simplistic root-cause analysis with a linear thought process examining facts in chronological order was to pinpoint an error made by a human in the maintenance procedure.

The prescribed instructions stipulated that, during maintenance, a specific device should be inserted to prevent water from entering the tank. The operator overseeing the maintenance neglected to follow this crucial step, allowing water to infiltrate the tank. This breach in protocol triggered the catastrophic chain of events—unleashing a chemical reaction, releasing lethal gas into the village, and resulting in widespread devastation.

However, this linear root-cause analysis provides an oversimplified view of a highly complex situation. It conveniently places blame on an individual, ignoring more impactful forces.

For unsafe states (2)
Look at the system

Quality as a holistic concept that urges us to scrutinize the entire system. It advocates for a more profound exploration of the multifaceted factors influencing the end result.
The Bhopal incident, upon closer examination, reveals harsh economic conditions faced by the plant, contributing to a lax approach to maintenance. The plant’s overall state of disrepair, incessant alarms, and a dismissive attitude toward safety audits all painted a picture of systemic issues that transcended individual actions.

The quality approach prompts us to question the simplicity of the initial narrative. It encourages us to acknowledge that there is seldom a singular, linear cause for such disasters. Instead, it is a complex interplay of various factors—economic downturns, conflicts between management and unions, and compromised safety protocols.

How Quality impacts the emotional state of people

This systematic approach is also supported by the fact that Quality has a direct response to the emotional state of individuals within the process. And that, in it’s turn, results in a poor quality delivery. Again and again, this turns into an endless loop: poorly designed process makes people frustrated, frustrated people are making wrong decisions, and wrong decisions lead to incidents.

We covered this in more detail in our previous article: Mindful and effective: how improved safety processes help to avoid unsafe states?

Quality in Operational Safety Excellence context

When we talk about safety and quality together, it goes beyond just following rules. It is a complicated puzzle that involves understanding human actions and the complex workings of systems.

For instance, when you’re getting ready for a task, an obligatory step is to perform a task risk analysis. This is a common practice worldwide, whether using paper or computer systems. It involves looking at the job beforehand and analyzing the potential risks associated with it. The task risk analysis has a few parts to it:
• Firstly, you consider how detailed the task description is. Is it clear and thorough enough for a proper risk analysis? This is a way to measure the quality of the preparation.
• Secondly, check how accurate the description is. Does it match how the task will actually be carried out? This involves comparing what’s written with what will happen in reality. So, it’s about being detailed enough for understanding and aligning with the execution.
• Finally, if you have a well-described job that matches the reality of its execution, another quality aspect to consider is the thoroughness of hazard identification. How comprehensive or excessive are the hazards outlined? These are three instances where you evaluate the quality during the preparation stage of performing a risk analysis.

In Operational Safety Excellence we zoom in to the level of operations and inject Quality in the process design itself. By doing so, a more comprehensive approach to improving safety quality can be established—one that goes beyond reactive responses to incidents and delves into proactive, systemic enhancements that safeguard against future calamities.

The power of Standardization

According to the knowledge from Operational Safety Excellence, there is one word for the solution: Standardization.

The concept of standardization encapsulates a systematic approach to defining what constitutes excellence and efficiency in operational processes. It is also a perfect example of human error prevention inserted in the process on the operational level. Standardization is not merely a set of rigid rules but a dynamic framework that guides individuals toward understanding what ‘good’ looks like and how to approach it.

Here are the steps to embark on the journey of standardization:

  1. What? Provide your team with tangible examples of what embodies a well-executed, efficient and desired task outcome (how GOOD looks like).By presenting real-world scenarios as benchmarks, individuals gain a practical understanding of the expectations within the context of their responsibilities.
  2. How? Provide comprehensive guidance on how to generate new materials with the emphasis on detailed, granular guidance rather than high-level abstractions. By imparting specific guidelines, individuals are equipped with the tools to assess and address challenges systematically.
  3. Check! Integrate of feedback loops, exemplified by the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycles. This iterative cycle allows individuals to engage in continuous improvement by learning from their experiences. After individuals have created task risk analyses, a collective examination ensues. This collaborative approach involves asking pertinent questions—How well were the examples applied? Were the rules faithfully applied?
  4. No satisfied? If feedback indicates stagnation or decline in performance, get into a deeper analysis of the system. Scrutinize training adequacy, cultural alignment, and the clarity of rules. In essence, it is a return to the systemic level, ensuring that the standards themselves are adaptive and responsive.
  5. Establish the Standard. Reuse of successful outcomes. Rather than reinventing the wheel with each new task, the materials generated through the standardization process become a repository of best practices. This not only streamlines future efforts but also reinforces a culture of consistency and reliability.

In conclusion, standardization, within the realm of operational safety excellence, emerges as a multifaceted tool for quality improvement. It empowers individuals with clear guidance, encourages continuous improvement through feedback loops, and ensures the efficient reuse of successful materials. As a holistic approach, standardization laying the groundwork for sustained quality improvement.

Conclusion

Understanding and enhancing Quality, especially in safety, requires a shift from simplistic root-cause analyses that lead to blaming individuals to a comprehensive systems approach. Quality is about the entire context of how safety procedures are designed and applied. Standardization, coupled with continuous feedback and systemic analysis, emerges as a powerful tool to improve and sustain quality, ensuring safer and more efficient processes and the emotional well-being of the team.

Are you tired of errors, re-dos, and rejections in Permit-to-Work handouts?

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We can teach you all about the Quality aspects of Safety processes (i.e. Permit-to-Work)  in the EHS domain by applying a step-by-step approach to achieve Operational Safety Excellence.

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PRESS RELEASE: IB&X continues as Unite-X

24th August 2021, Netherlands

iB&X, creator of the award-winning safety and efficiency platform, continues under the name Unite-X.  

After more than twenty years of operating in the field of Operational Safety Excellence (OSE), the company decided it was time for a new era, represented by a new image covering both their company and product name.

History

Unite-X (previously iB&X) started under the name iBanx in 2000, operating as consultants in the field of safety within large-scaled industries. But quickly, it was recognized there was so much more to learn and improve in this specific field, merging safety and other fields. Watch the video about the timeline of Unite-X.  

Later, iBanx changed into iB&X, with a more specialized approach towards safety and operational efficiency. As pioneers in the field, where Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE/EHS) was the most organizations’ primary focus, more and more companies noticed the benefits of the zero-incident solution when combining safety with operational excellence.  

Unite-X

Now, more than twenty years later, it has been shown that making a true impact needs a vision, expertise, knowledge, and courage. It became also obvious that applying lean methodologies to safety processes helps manufacturing organizations to unlock new potential for continuous improvement. 

 Within all the developments the company has made in the last two decades (worldwide representation, reaching 8-week implementation, and winning the DSM award for Indirect Best Overall Supplier (https://unite-x.com/knowledge-base/press-release-ibx-wins-the-indirect-best-overall-supplier-award-by-dsm/)), the organization decided it was time for a new era, including a new brand name as well: Unite-X. 

This is how Barbro Stalbrink, the director of Unite-X comments on the new name: “Unite stands for the way our company works. We unite people and we also unite safety with operational efficiency. We strongly believe in a certain way of thinking in which we unite the strongest parts of different fields and make a difference.” Watch the movie of director Barbro Stalbrink to learn more about why we chose the name Unite-X here.  

Sjoerd Nanninga, director of Unite-X Asia, comments on the X part of the name:

“The X represents the true action (‘there where it really happens’), but also implicates decisions based on real data and made by people who are at the X, people who are actually involved in the X.” 

(Read his article about the X-Factor here).

Rob van den Heuvel (SABIC): 

“We were looking for a program. But what we got was a program, but also a way of thinking and a way of working, which was a bonus for me.” 

Unite-X has developed into a worldwide leader in operating in the field of Operational Safety Excellence (OSE). This domain is created by Unite-X experts, covering the industry knowledge about how to balance production efficiency with working environment safety. It focuses on continuous process improvement by embedding safety execution, safety control, and safety assurance in the heart of operations. 

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