Agency 18: QHSE

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The Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) Agency is the 18th agency in the community. The agency is concerned with facilitating the establishment of safe working conditions for all participants, formulation of policies that ensure goods and services produced in the community are of the highest quality, and that all human activity is aligned with environmental conservation.

QHSE Agency forms part of the Data Bureau, being third after the Accounting (agency 16), and Data and Publishing (agency 17).

All community agencies, including the QHSE Agency, obtain the funds they need for operations from the Capital Bank. The Capital Bank provides these funds as an investment, for which it expects a return from the agency. In turn, the agency provides chargeable services to participants and other agencies. From its revenues, it is able to pay the Capital Bank and improve its services. The Capital Bank uses the return it receives from various agencies to pay limited partners (who are the ultimate investor in the community) a return on their partnership interest.

What is QHSE?

QHSE is a set of standards, rules, and policies that seek to improve and standardize process and product quality while safeguarding the environment and the safety and health of the people who produce goods and services. QHSE strategies aim to improve workplace environment and safety. They also help to set up and sustain sustainable production processes. Facilitating the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of the set of procedures and techniques used to optimize operations and enable compliance with local and regional standards is the

QHSE has four pillars:

Quality

Quality involves fulfilling the requirements and expectations of the market. Businesses achieve this by following controls and standards to provide their services and products at the right quality and quantity. In the community, the QHSE Agency facilitates the formulation of these standards and ensures that businesses are involved in their formulation, implementation, and updating to ensure they are aligned with specific operations and that they enable them to compete with others.

Quality management standards are geared towards ensuring that in return for offering good quality products that actually benefit customers, businesses reap many benefits, including survival in a highly competitive marketplace. In formulating quality management standards, the community is guided by a set of principles. Key among them is a strong focus on the customer. Businesses must strive to attract and retain customers by engaging them constructively, monitoring market trends shaping their product offerings accordingly, and constantly seeking to improve.

Processes that birth products and services must be based on credible evidence so that they are always optimized. Businesses must understand their processes as part of a system, rather than isolated events that have no bearing or input from others. This helps in planning, and in offering balance, quality, and consistency to the market. The business must also undertake to continually improve its processes to stay ahead of the pack and to improve its customers’ experience, thereby bolstering its survival.

Safety and health

Businesses need to ensure that the people who produce goods and services do so in conditions that promote their mental and physical health, as well as safeguard their health. The QHSE Agency sets up systems through which businesses in the community assess risks that could impact the health and safety of participants, and recommend measures to mitigate them.

Occupational health and safety standards are meant to prevent injury and illness in the course of work. Every business in the community is expected to apply these standards so that it can continually improve its response to the risk of injury or illness, and fulfill legal requirements that demand certain measures to protect people as they work.

Since they are to be applied by every business, the QHSE Agency develops a system that enables businesses to tailor-make standards to fit their unique circumstances, including size, scope, and sector. The agency therefore formulates these standards merely as guidelines from which businesses can define what applies to them.

Environment

Businesses need to operate in an environmentally sustainable way. This includes assessing and controlling the impact on the environment, preventing over-exploitation of natural resources, and strategies to regenerate or clean up polluted air, soil, and water. The QHSE Agency monitors businesses and individuals’ activities and sets up controls to ensure they are sustainable.

The QHSE Agency sets up the necessary standards that businesses and individuals can use to formulate their own environmental management plans. Every participant in the community appreciates that their actions have an impact on the environment and that they have a responsibility to respond to this impact, The QHSE Agency’s system is designed to help participants and the businesses they run to identify and assess the impact of their actions on the environment. They are thereafter expected to use the system to map a plan that indicates how impact can be eliminated, minimized, or managed sustainably. The plan also provides for continued improvement to ensure long-term sustainability.

Roles of the QHSE Agency

The QHSE Agency works through its automated system, as well as contractors who are either hired by the agency to help it deliver services, or by participants who seek help on tasks that are specific to the agency. The agency’s executive presidency provides the necessary strategic direction, which is implemented by the operational presidencies. 

The roles of the QHSE Agency are widely varied, ranging from facilitating best practices in manufacturing to monitoring businesses’ interaction with the environment, and research. The agency performs the following functions:

  • Facilitate formulation and implementation of quality management, occupational health and safety, and environmental management standards
  • Align standards with international best practices, regulations, and laws
  • Training and monitoring

Formulation and implementation of standards

Standards are a set of guidelines that help businesses do something consistently to ensure quality, safety, sustainability, and consistency. Standards represent knowledge distilled from experts in a particular field and are updated regularly to reflect best practices.

In the community, the QHSE Agency provides a platform through which quality management standards are formulated. The agency coordinates the sharing of knowledge to establish best practices. This ensures that businesses that will use standards are extensively involved in the process, and as a result, are conversant with them and can take ownership.

The QHSE Agency’s system helps businesses to adapt standards to their needs and circumstances. The system also helps to conduct a gap analysis to show the resources the business needs to implement the standard. These aspects inform the planning, which is again automated, suggesting the best courses of action based on a business’s unique circumstances.

Align standards with international best practices and laws

The standards that the QHSE Agency develops are tailored to reflect regional practices and preferences. They are also more sweeping in terms of the scope they cover, compared to national standards bodies including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the ISO. In some instances, there may be inconsistencies between community standards and those adopted in the area a community operates.

It is necessary that, even as businesses comply with standards facilitated by the QHSE Agency, they also align their operations with standards for bodies outside the community. This helps them to favorably compete with others and enables them to conform to any regulatory demands concerning standards.

The QHSE Agency constantly scans the standards environment to note any changes. It then facilitates the alignment of community standards with these changes. The agency also engages bodies such as the ANSI to develop common ground on standards and implementation to ease compliance.

Training, monitoring, and implementation

The QHSE Agency facilitates training of all participants to ensure they understand various measures that the community has set up to protect the quality of products, occupational safety, and the environment. The agency conducts its training through two methods: automated lessons online and tailored to what a participant needs, or by contractors hired by the agency for specific roles.

The agency’s automated system carries various modules prepared and posted by contractors. The modules are simplified and targeted at specific areas. Participants are expected to be conversant with areas that concern them and update their knowledge as changes occur. The system regularly updates participants on such changes.

For specific areas, the agency may feel the need for more intensive training by experts in the field. The agency will then hire contractors who prepare and offer the necessary training sessions. Participants may also request such services from the contractors.

The agency facilitates the implementation of various standards and regulations. After training, participants are expected to implement what applies to them. The agency will set up various audit and monitoring systems to ensure that businesses are complying with the standards as laid down. In instances where this is not followed, the agency can recommend a number of measures, including additional training.

How the agency works

Background on presidencies

Every presidency in the community is a four-member entity whose members represent one of the four major demographics: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). However, a president serves the whole community in their role, rather than only their demographic. Presidents’ diversity and commitment to serve all is provided for in the community bylaws and ensures that all access services without any discrimination.

These four major demographics are evenly split in a normal society.  Each group accounts for between 23 and 27% of the population, with regular fluctuations as people’s status changes. The community appreciates that discrimination across all social categories happens based on marital status, other social categorizations notwithstanding; married men are likelier to dominate other demographics, especially single men and single women.

The community’s infrastructure promotes equal access to economic and social resources and opportunities. The composition of the community as a whole and those who serve it in the community public service is closely monitored to prevent numerical domination, which can lead to nepotism or unequal access.

Besides marital status, the recruitment to be a participant, and to serve in the public service carefully considers other social categorizations, to ensure racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual groups are well represented in the community as they are in the society in which a community operates. These considerations inform the constitution of the community public service. The diversity in community public service, which is provided by bylaws, is aimed at creating a community that is blind to all other considerations besides service to participants. The service is therefore designed to be free of discrimination.

Executive presidency, demographic presidency, and bureau board

The QHSE Agency is served by an executive presidency. The presidency, comprised of 4 presidents from the four major demographics, handles strategy formulation and adjustment. It also formulates and communicates operational procedures for the agency. Additionally, the presidency facilitates the setting up of the agency’s automated system and adjusts it as necessary to better achieve its goals.

As part of the Data Bureau, the executive presidency forms a bureau board with executive presidencies serving the Accounting and Data & Publishing agencies. The board acts as a check and monitoring tool for individual presidents and agencies, especially when decisions have far-reaching implications for the community.

Within the bureau board, three presidents from the same demographic form a demographic presidency. There are four such presidencies in the bureau. The demographic presidency performs an advisory role to presidencies and agencies regarding a particular demographic; it does not have operational or executive authority. The demographic presidency also plays an important role in the mentorship and training of new presidents.

Demographic presidency ADemographic presidency BDemographic presidency CDemographic presidency D
Executive presidency, Accounting (16)16A16B16C16D
Executive presidency, Data, and Publishing (17)17A17B17C17D
Executive presidency, QHSE (18)18A18B18C18D

Operational presidencies

24 data operational presidencies serve the three agencies in the Data Bureau. Each operational presidency serves a district and the agency that has its offices in that district building. For instance, Operational Presidency 1 serves District 1, and the Human Relations Agency (agency 1). The operational presidencies carry out the operational duties of each agency. They interact with community public servants and contractors. They also monitor the efficiency of each of the three agencies’ automated systems in serving participants and contractors. From their observations and interactions, operational presidencies advise the executive presidencies on changes that need to be made to the system and its strategic approach.

Operational presidencies also belong to 12-member boards and demographic presidencies. Since each presidency has four presidents (married men – A, married women – B, single women – C, and single men – D), there are a total of 96 presidents serving the bureau, and organized into 8 boards and 32 demographic presidencies.

Charts showing the 24 Data operational presidencies and how they are organized into 8 boards. The charts also show that each president belongs to a demographic presidency of 3 within their board.

Limited partners and branch presidencies

Limited partners and group council

A limited partner is the basic unit in the community. A limited person, usually above 18 years old, but sometimes as young as 16, has been admitted into the community and has invested $20,000 as partnership interest, for which they earn a return. This is regarded as one unit of partnership interest. Over time, a limited partner can add more units of partnership interest, as their business prospers. The more partnership interest units a limited partner has, the more the return they receive from the agency.

A dependent is a minor, or a person living with a disability, under the care of a limited partner. In some instances, a dependent may be a fit adult, who for various reasons is supported by community agencies, and assigned by contract to a limited partner.  Limited partners are responsible for any legal agreements that their dependents enter into, either with community agencies or other participants. Together, limited partners and dependents are referred to as participants.

Participants who are dependents, because they are still minors, can start a business when they reach 12 years of age. This allows them to save up and invest USD 20,000 into the community by their 18th birthday, and possibly as early as 16. Limited partners and their dependents reside in apartments (village buildings). Each apartment has 4 floors, with each floor containing 16 apartments.

Each floor has floor has 7 – 12 limited partners, with each limited partner having 1 – 3 dependents. Each floor therefore has around 25 residents. With four floors, each building has approximately 100 residents. An apartment building also forms a branch.

Captains and branch presidencies

Of the approximately 100 residents in a branch, around 40 of them are limited partners. The limited partners form 4 group councils of around 10 limited partners each. Each group council is diverse, containing different social groups that are reflective of the society within which a community operates. Additionally, a group contains members of the four main demographics: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D).

The council meets at least quarterly and provides limited partners with a platform to interact and discuss common interest matters to their demographic within their branch. One of the members of the group council serves the group as a captain. Four captains who serve the four groups in an apartment building (branch) form a branch presidency. A branch presidency’s membership is drawn from the four main demographics, for the purposes of representation.

Captains are responsible for recruiting limited partners into the community through their council and by extension, branch. The Human Relations Agency’s automated system develops a clear definition of the sort of recruits that the community needs. It then breaks it down to the most basic social organization in the community – group. The criteria and subsequent recruitment process carefully consider that group’s current composition, that of other groups in a branch, other branches, villages, and the district. Therefore, while the captain has the responsibility to recruit, their discretion is limited by what the system recommends. This ensures that not only does the community achieve and maintain balance in all respects, but it also eliminates any chance that a captain would recruit through discrimination or nepotism. 

A captain does not recruit limited partners only from their demographic. Instead, they work to ensure that their recruits are diverse, considering social categorizations, gender, and social status, in addition to demographic groups.

Captains work in concert with their fellow captains in the branch presidency, and other presidencies in a village and district to ensure that the district is as diverse as possible. They are guided by present data on how diverse their district, village, and branch are, and what needs to be focused on to improve. They are also guided by community bylaws, which expressly require diversity as shown by demographic data about a population from which the community intends to recruit limited partners.

Numbering system for branches.

The captain serves as a service extension of the Human Relations Agency, though they also act as an interface between participants and other community agencies. Captains help participants navigate the agency’s automated system and other relevant tools used by the different agencies to deliver services. 10 branches form a village. Each of the branch presidencies also belongs to a specific branch board. Branch boards provide an additional check and balance for captains and branch presidencies. Branches are numbered based on the village’s hub, in the direction of the breezeway one-way traffic direction.

A hub is formed at the intersection of breezeways between villages. Hub buildings are used for a range of commercial activities that need to be closer to residential areas, such as daycare centers, grocery stores, and emergency centers, among others.

A branch’s number determines with whom its presidency will form a branch board. Branch presidencies 1, 2, and 3 form one branch board, as do 4, 5, and 6, and 7, 8, and 9.

Four villages make a district. The last branch presidency in each village in the community (branch presidency 10) combines with three others in their district or cluster of 3 districts to form additional branch boards. The last branch presidencies in villages 1, 2, and 3 in each district make a board. The last branch presidencies in village 4 of each of the 3 districts in a cluster also form a board.

This can be illustrated as follows:

Besides belonging to a branch presidency and a board, every captain belongs to a demographic presidency of 3. A demographic presidency is made up of 3 captains within a board, and who serve the same demographic. The demographic presidency mainly serves an advisory function, safeguarding issues common to the particular demographic, and helping in mentorship and support for incoming captains.

The automated system is designed to help participants with all the help they need in matters related to quality management, occupational health and safety, and environmental management. However, should they run into problems, captains assist them in navigating the system, or direct them to relevant contractors who help them at a fee.

Automated system

All agencies rely on an automated system to handle a majority of their duties including participant interaction. For the QHSE Agency, the automated system focuses on facilitating the formulation of standards and enabling businesses to adopt these standards as they design their individual quality management, safety and health, and environmental management strategies.

At the standard formulation stage, the system can collect, collate, and aggregate various contributions by participants. The system can assist in decision-making by guiding the executive presidency in preparing the final wording that will express the standard.

The QHSE Agency’s automated system plays an important role in helping businesses adapt standards to their unique circumstances. The agency, with extensive information about the business and the participant who runs it, can identify what a business needs to do to conform to a standard the resources needed, and how the standard or management strategy can be implemented. Thereafter, the system is important in monitoring the prescribed solutions and recommending corrective action where necessary.

As discussed above, training is automated. The preparation of training modules is not automated, being prepared by contractors working for the agency, before being packaged and delivered by the system. The system can evaluate participants’ understanding of training modules, identify the training needs of every participant recommend what they need, and advise the agency when training approaches fall short of needs.

Contractors

In many instances of its operations, the QHSE Agency needs the services of contractors to fulfill its roles. This includes during the formulation process, when the agency may need expert input to properly formulate standards after the automated system has carried out its work. During implementation, monitoring, and updating of standards, the agency may also need contractors to optimize its operations. The agency pays contractors for the services it procures.

Participants, as they draw up strategies on different QHSE goals may not have all the help from the automated system. Once they have discussed their problems with their captain, they may realize that they indeed need the assistance of contractors to not only navigate the system but to also help them formulate policies and strategies they can easily integrate into their businesses’ operations.

Interagency collaboration

Besides their bureaus, agencies also have considerable collaboration with other agencies within their column. The 24 agencies are organized into 3 columns. The columns are not as formally organized as bureaus, whose presidencies form a board and may sometimes have operational presidencies to assist them. Nevertheless, their functions align, creating a common ground to collaborate.

The QHSE Agency works with the Audit Agency (agency 15) in establishing various areas where organizations are exposed to risk, especially concerning occupational safety and health standards, and helps in assessing the risk and recommending actions.

The agency also works with the Risk Management and Underwriting Agency (agency 21) in drawing up the criteria through which businesses’ exposure to risk can be calculated, and from this, applicable premiums are recommended. The agency also cooperates with the Transport and Raw Materials Agency (Agency 24) as the community develops mines and transport channels, ensuring that they are developed in a way that considers environmental standards.

The 24 agencies are organized in rows and columns. Beyond working in their bureau (row), agencies also interact extensively within their column. An overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Human and Financial Capital Department is here, and an overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Process and Property Department is here. A more detailed version of this graphic with some historic background is posted here.

Presidencies’ offices, meetings, and quarterly conferences

Offices

The offices of the QHSE Agency’s executive presidency are in building 18, on the western side. The eastern side has offices for the trustee and the Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies that serve the QHSE Agency’s executive presidency and District 18.

Trustees and the regulatory operational presidencies alternate their offices. Trustees have the offices in building 18 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the operational presidencies use the offices on Mondays and Wednesdays, as shown in this timetable:

Building 6/ Recreation, Arts, and Sports AgencyBuilding 18/ QHSE Agency
MondayTrustee presidencyRegulatory Bureau Operational presidency
TuesdayRegulatory Bureau Operational presidencyTrustee presidency
WednesdayTrustee presidencyRegulatory Bureau Operational presidency
ThursdayRegulatory Bureau Operational presidencyTrustee presidency

The Data Bureau’s operational presidencies have offices on the first floor of every district building, with each of the 24 presidencies occupying offices in one building. This graphic shows District Building 18’s first-floor layout, with offices for the executive presidency, trustees, and various operational presidencies indicated.

Working hours and meetings

All community public servants, including the QHSE Agency’s executive presidency and the Regulatory Bureau’s operational presidencies, work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. This time is dedicated to meeting clients and normal operational duties as the office requires. On Thursday, the whole presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a 45-minute meeting from 9:00 to 9:45 in the morning.

On the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, each demographic presidency meets. The three-member presidency discusses common bureau matters that are of interest to the demographic they serve. On Saturday, again between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, the whole board meet. The presidents present their input from the previous day’s demographic presidency meeting, and prepare for the quarterly conference. The aim is to have a cohesive presentation during the quarterly conference but tailored to specific demographic interests.

Quarterly conferences

Quarterly conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between. During quarterly conferences, each demographic presidency sits together in the same row.

Quarterly conferences are held in District Buildings 5 and 17. Each building has a lower and higher assembly court. The different demographic groups use the assembly courts as follows:

BuildingAssembly courtDemographic
5Lower courtMarried men (A)
5Higher courtMarried Women (B)
17Lower courtSingle women (C)
17Higher courtSingle men (D)

Each of the four assembly courts has seats for 480 presidents representing the respective demographic. In the diagram below each of the 4 courts is illustrated. The ceiling of each court has an elliptical arch that enables executive presidents, who are the only ones who make a presentation during the conference, to speak without the need to amplify their voices. The 480 seats are easily rotatable to enable presidents to face whoever is speaking.

Each of the four courts has an identical arrangement and number of seats. The exact arrangement of each court can therefore be illustrated using one court, in this case, building 5’s lower court that is used by married men (A).

Within an assembly court, the 480 presidents are arranged in terms of demographic presidencies of 3. The Data Bureau’s demographic presidency for married men (16A, 17A, and 18A) sits as highlighted in the graphic below. The 24 operational presidents for married men (A) are organized into 8 demographic presidencies: 1,2, 3/ 4, 5, 6/ 7, 8, 9/ 10, 11, 12/13,14,15/ 16,17,18/ 19,20,21/ and 22,23,24.

Representations of hierarchical- and matrix-type organizations.
The structure of a hierarchical-type organization is shown on the left, and that of a matrix-type organization is shown on the right.

Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:

  • A great percentage of accidents – 80-90% are caused by human error. By empowering people with the necessary skills and attitude regarding their safety, health, and the environment, such accidents can be reduced (Smith, T., et al. Variability in Human Performance. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2015.
  • QHSE is a people-driven process, meaning that the organization or agency can only facilitate this by enabling individuals to acquire skills necessary to keep themselves and the environment safe and healthy. This means that QHSE relies heavily on training, to impart the required skills (Irimie, S., et al. “Aspects of the Safety and Health at the Workplace.” Procedia Economics and Finance 23.2015 (2015): 52 – 160.).
  • In the modern world, it is becoming ever more important to base decisions and policy on evidence. The community effort to formulate QHSE policies will be evidence-based, enabling the community to benefit from policies which are well researched, thought-out, and whose primary concern is the participants’ well-being (Sanderson, I. “Evaluation, Policy Learning and Evidence-Based Policy Making.” Public Administration 80.1 (2002): 1-22.
  • If carried out well, online training can be as effective as, if not more than, in-person training. For this to succeed however there needs to be the right material, which will not necessitate frequent in-person engagement. This model will work well in the community, where the QHSE Agency will synthesize information in a way which participants will be able to easily grasp it, with assistance being easily available (Ebojoh, O. “Effectiveness of online learning program: A case study of a higher education institution.” Issues in Information Systems 8.1 (2007): 160-166.
  • For policies to have any impact, it is necessary to train the people expected to practice them. Training will focus on building their capacity to understand the rationale behind such standards, and reviewing whether they have any other resources needed to practice the said standards (CME. HSE Policy. 2019. 09 06 2019.
  • By training participants on the importance of QHSE policies, the community is able to integrate QHSE issues in the community’s ultimate objective, whereby the community targets holistic prosperity – social, economic, and environmental (Skelbo, S. The importance of integrating HSE in the HR initiatives and processes. 22 04 2013. 09 06 2019.
  • Through algorithms, websites have ben able to tailor content to suit particular users. The QHSE Agency can employ similar tools so that the training handed out pays attention to issues such as gender, profession, and specific QHSE issues that a person is likely to handle, different to others (Venugopal, K., K. Srinivasa and L. Patnaik. “Algorithms for Web Personalization.” Soft Computing for Data Mining Applications (2009): 217-230.
  • Public participation, as the case with community bylaws, is aimed at ensuring inclusivity in the decision making process. Those who are to be affected by policies have a right to have the chance to input their ideas during this stage, so that they can support the resulting policies (Christian, A. Public Participation In Decision-Making Processes. 14 05 2016. 09 06 2019.
  • The QHSE Agency can utilize non-financial reporting mechanisms. The agency can train businesses how they can file non-financial reports that detail their environmental impact, social responsibility, as well as the steps they have taken to ensure the safety, health and security of their workspaces (PWC. The non-financial reporting regulations What do they mean in practice? special edition. London: PWC, 2017.
  • QHSE reporting helps an organization adopt a continuous improvement posture. The community aims to ensure that participants and the external world sees tangible results of its insistence on QHSE. These reports will provide such proof, while laying the ground for further improvement of the tools and policies used to drive its QHSE initiative (Mohammadfam, I. “Developing the health, safety and environment excellence instrument.” Iranian journal of environmental health science & engineering 10.1 (2013): published online.
  • QHSE auditing is both periodical and ongoing. In the case of the community, where the audit is mainly automated, it will be a continuous exercise that constantly tests the available controls, while also reviewing businesses’ responses to QHSE policies and practice. This will give the community a better chance to update its QHSE practice and policies (Wescot. QHSE Auditing Policy. 2019. 09 06 2019.).