Although ISO 9001:2015 states that Work Instructions (WIs) are no longer required (they now refer to them as ‘documented information that defines the activities to be performed and the results achieved’!), it seems nowadays (well it certainly does to me!) that whenever you purchase something that you will need to assemble yourself (e.g. a fruit cage) or use (e.g. a simple car hoover) a WI is included in the packing box. So whatever you call this – a WI or ‘written guidance’ – it is still part of the overall Quality Assurance chain
What is the difference between Procedure and Work Instruction ?
- Procedures: tell you who does what and when;
- Work Instructions: tell you how to do something at a more granular level. Work Instructions provide the ‘nitty gritty’ detail required to carry out a specific job in an exact manner and to a predetermined standard. They detail how an organisation manufactures a product or supplies a process or service – as well as the controls that it has in place to ensure the quality of that product and service, etc. is consistent.
How to write Work Instruction?
Work Instruction as per ISO 9001 :
Components of a Work Instruction :
- Document data sheet: All the salient information about the document – file name, who wrote it, a summary of the contents, when it was approved, who approved it and a record of all changes made to the document etc.
- Contents list: A list of all the chapters, sections, parts and annexes, etc. making up this document;
- List of annexes: All parts of a document should be traceable, especially when they are in separate volumes;
- References: A clear reference to any material or technology that is specifically referred to in the document. Also any associated QPs, etc.
- Scope and objectives: This should define exactly what the WI is needed for. Normally this is a very simple statement because a WI would usually be limited to one process (e.g. the WI illustrated in first figure of this articles detailing the actions to be taken to dig a square hole);
- Procedure: again, referring to following figure as an example, this will state the manner of production, installation or application where the absence of such controls would adversely affect the quality of the hole to be dug using hand shovels only, and would require temporary shoring to prevent collapse.
- Consideration should also be given to any safety implications that may exist
- when carrying out the process.
- Responsibility: The WI must clearly state who can carry out the process;
- Relevant forms: The identification of forms – hard copy or computerised required to implement the WI.
How many Work Instructions can I have?
- It would be very difficult to write a single WI for large items, such as building an aircraft or laying on the catering services for a Tournament;
- Each WI may require Staff with different levels of training and qualifications;
- A particular contract may only require the completion of certain WIs;
- Small, concise WIs are more easily revised.