Following our last blog “Mandatory Thinking” there has been a great deal of discussion on the difference between “documents” and “records” in the CSA Z662.

The Safety and Loss Management System requirements in Clause 3.1.2 (e) mandate that Companies have a process to effectively manage documents and records.”

There are numerous clauses with mandatory requirements for specific documents and records throughout the Z662, but what is the difference between the two?

Consider these common definitions (“Documents” and “Record” are not currently defined terms in Z662):

  • Documents: any compilation of information that, describes, defines, specifies, reports or certifies.
    For example, documents may be corporate policies, goals, programs, work instructions and procedures. In addition, programs, procedures and record keeping, such as inspection lists (blank and completed), are also documents
  • Record: a completed document that provides evidence of an item, process or completed activity. Records provide evidence indicating whether or not a product or deliverable meets specified target or objective.
    Some examples of records include training completions, contract reviews, designs, design reviews and considerations. In addition, operation and maintenance reports, test reports, inspection results, variance and nonconformance reports. Audit reports would also be considered to be records.

Essentially a “record” is a specific type of documentation and a “document”, while not limited to “records”, would include them. Discussions are currently taking place at the committee level to determine if some additional clarification is required in future editions of the CSA Z662 to ensure that individuals clearly understand the need to record evidence of their compliance with code clauses, as well as company policies, procedures and work instructions.

This evidence is in the form of records of actions and results. The Z662 provides over 50 direct references mandating the creation of “records”. In addition to the clauses which use the word “record”, the intent to create records is also clearly established with wordings like the following:
“shall” ……
“conducted and documented”
“accurately measured and documented”
“verifications shall be documented”
“data shall be documented”
“locations of damage shall be documented”

An easy rule of thumb is that if you are executing a task, you need to create a record.