By using independent auditors to conduct audits, the SQAS (Safety and Quality Assessment Systems) benchmark provides organizations in the chemical industry with a tool to assess the quality and safety systems of their logistics service providers in a uniform and harmonized way. A standardized questionnaire is used as a reference document to avoid multiple audits from being individually carried out by several chemical companies. On the other hand, this system provides carriers with useful feedback regarding their areas of strengths and potential areas for improvement which are detected during an audit. An SQAS audit leads to a detailed and fact-based report being issued. This can be made available in a centralized database via the authorization of the company being audited.
While the steps outlined below are geared towards chemical companies, logistics service providers should have an understanding of how SQAS fits into the risk reduction programmes of its partners in the chemical industry. This process must allow for the continuous identification, assessment and reduction of risks to which people, the environment or property are exposed, as a result of the transport and storage of dangerous or hazardous materials.
Such process generally consists of the following steps, although its application to SQAS can be found between steps 5 and 6.
- Making a list of chemical products and dangerous materials;
- Classifying chemical products by their level of risk;
- Classifying chemical products by their level of exposure/potential impact;
- Prioritizing risk assessments;
- Conducting a risk assessment;
- Developing and implementing risk reduction alternatives;
- Carrying out a follow-up.