In an ISO9001:2000 quality system, how do you write work instructions?

Work instructions are an optional part of an ISO9001:2000 quality management system. No, you don’t need them, they’re not required. Yes, they are often a good idea, and there’s a really good chance that you should have them.

If your people have lots of processes that would benefit from having documented instructions, and these instructions affect the quality of your product or service, then voila! you need work instructions.

Work instructions are another tier of your quality system documentation. So what are the requirements for constructing your work instructions?

Actually, there are no requirements for how you construct your work instructions.

There are various items that you might want to include in your work instructions, and these are similar to what you’d write an ISO procedure. Some of the items you might include in work instructions are: 1) purpose, 2) scope, 3) responsibilities, 4) definitions, 5) work instruction steps, 6) safety & environmental information, 7) associated documents, 8) document revision history.

But don’t feel compelled to include all of the above in your work instructions. In its essence, a work instruction pertains to a signle activity within a larger process. Keep your work instructions concise, to the point. You want to describe the who and the what and in which sequence things happen. Its a good idea to first write down all the necessary steps in carrying out that activity and then break it up into individual tasks. You’ll probably find it easiest to format your work instructions in a manner similar to your ISO procedures.

Keep in mind, though, that you don’t need to write your work instructions so detailed that a moron could follow them. It is reasonable to assume that the people who use the instructions have a fair degree of intelligence and experience, and your work instructions are written for them. So don’t go nuts.

Also keep in mind that work instructions can take many forms. A picture on a wall, a flow chart, a cartoon, a video, a set of example parts glued to a piece of wood, these are all forms of work instructions.

Ultimately you have to ask yourself “Can the worker do the job correctly, based on the work instruction?” If you can’t honestly say “yes”, then try, try again.

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4 Responses to “In an ISO9001:2000 quality system, how do you write work instructions?”

  1. hariharan says:

    how to make the document in quality department

  2. Writing about English…

    […]In an ISO9001:2000 quality system, how do you write work instructions? « (ISO) Quality Manual Chat[…]…

  3. Timothy says:

    Have you read the post?

  4. sanjay says:

    I have to write work instruction in hindi

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