Fundamentals of the DOE Quality System
The quality assurance program is a management
system involving all organizational components
and should not be regarded as the sole domain
of any single group. The Order and Rule reflects
the concept that all work is a process that
can be planned, performed, assessed, and improved.
The basic requirements are broken into three
This format permits managers, those performing
the work, and those assessing the planning implementation,
and results of the work to focus on their unique
responsibilities in carrying out the provisions
of the quality assurance program. The three
categories capture the range of activities common
to all work, from organizing and staffing to
assessing results and providing feedback for
Application of the QA basic requirements extends
from the planning and conduct of basic and applied
research, scientific investigation, and engineering
design to operations, maintenance and repair
of facilities, and eventual environmental restoration.
These basic requirements reflect a comprehensive
way of doing business throughout the life cycle
of DOE programs and projects.
DOE's goal is to achieve continuous improvement.
This requires a culture that encourages setting
and maintaining high standards, identifying
and resolving problems, accepting recommendations
for improvement, and fostering mutual respect
and effective communication between DOE and
its contractors. DOE and contractor management
are responsible for continuously pursuing enhancements
to safety and reliability--not just complying
with a minimal set of requirements.
Many DOE Orders assist contractors and DOE
Field Offices to achieve their objectives, but
prior to 1991 there was no single DOE Order
that defines how to integrate these requirements
and other policies into a management system.
The basic requirements of the QA Order represent
functional categories that interrelate these
other DOE Orders and policies; in effect, pulling
together all work performed by an organization.
Management should review existing requirements,
policies, and operating procedures in light
of this Order; care should be taken not to create
redundancies. The Safety Management System Policy,
P 450.4 further strengthens integrating safety
with the work process. The QA basic requirements
are to be applied to the implementation of SMS
Policy. These two management systems are also
to be integrated to ensure Quality Assurance
and Safety Management policies effectively work
together to achieve quality and safety in the
Guidance developed specifically for the Order
and Rule, and used in combination with it, assists
management in developing quality assurance programs
that satisfy the basic requirements. The guidance
interprets the Order's basic requirements as
they apply to different types of work performed
by DOE, such as reactor operations, basic and
applied research, and environmental restoration.
Other guidance such as international and U.S.
consensus standards, should be used provided
it results in acceptable performance. Organizations
should use standards and guides as sources of
information that provide ways to meet the basic
requirements. The format, such as the number
of criteria of an organization's quality assurance
program, should be based on the organization's
individual needs; and is only important if it
affects the organization's performance. DOE
and contractor management must assume a different
leadership role than in the past when DOE defined
quality solely in terms of conformance to standards.
Today quality is defined in terms of satisfying
the customer in the most resource-efficient
manner. The scope of employee's work must be
expanded to include value-added activities,
such as finding new and innovative ways to improve
the quality of their work. The following policy,
principles and value-added attributes are articulated
in the Order and Rule.
For additional information regarding this page or feedback on its content, please contact:
Colette Broussard, Director, Quality
Assurance Policy and Assistance,