2014: Advent Quality: Sign And Date

by on December 20, 2014

The reason to obsessively write things down is that if you write down what you did, then later, you’ll know what you did. It’s as simple as that. It’s good record-keeping. Don’t wait until four pm when you’ve been fighting fires all day to write down what you’ve been doing about them because you will get it wrong. You will misremember.

You, as a human being, are hugely prone to constructing narratives and you will write down a better version or a simpler version or a more streamlined account than what actually occured even if you intend to set it down exactly. And if everyone around you is doing the same thing, you will never be able to reconstruct the real sequence of events, and when someone says “was this batch still in the room when the window exploded or had it gone over to the warehouse already?”, if you didn’t write down which batches were exposed, you’ll be guessing.

You sign and date for the same reason. Who released this from quarantine and when?

Sure, you know now, three hours after the fact – but when an auditor asks you again in eight months, you’d better have written that down.

Written records are your best link to the past, and your best proof that you acted sensibly, and signing and dating as you go along is how you know that what you know is meaningful. That’s true in emergencies, and it’s true in normal operation.

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