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Differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Quality control and quality assurance
26 April

Blog by Sjors Wijgerde

Ensuring Compliance: A Constant Challenge

STO-events, commonly known as Shutdowns, Turnarounds, and Outages, are pivotal moments in the life of any industrial production facility. These planned periods of downtime go beyond routine maintenance; they are vital for ensuring the ongoing safety, reliability, and efficiency of operations. Among the myriad tasks to accomplish during these events, one stands out as particularly crucial: legal inspections.  

Legal inspections are not optional. They are mandatory to ensure compliance with regulations and to protect both personnel and the environment. However, conducting and documenting all necessary inspections properly is no small feat. It requires meticulous attention to detail, strict adherence to protocols, and effective coordination among various teams.  

One of the greatest challenges faced during STO-events is managing the vast array of documents associated with inspections. From safety checklists to equipment maintenance records, the volume of paperwork can quickly become overwhelming. Moreover, time pressure adds an additional layer of complexity. In the rush to meet deadlines, errors can occur, and crucial details can be overlooked. This is where Quality Assurance (QA) comes into play.  

What is Quality Assurance?

Quality Assurance (QA) is not just about ticking boxes or following procedures; it is about ensuring that processes are in place to guarantee the highest standards of quality and safety. It involves setting clear guidelines, implementing robust protocols, and conducting regular audits to verify compliance.  

At the same time, QA is not solely focused on the presence of documents; it also emphasizes their accuracy and integrity. A document filled out incorrectly or with discrepancies could lead to serious consequences, potentially resulting in costly rework or even safety hazards. Therefore, QA ensures not only the availability of documents but also their correct completion and thorough review. However, QA alone is not sufficient.  

What is Quality Control?

Quality Control (QC) plays an equally essential role in the process. While QA aims to prevent errors before they occur, QC handles detecting and correcting them during execution. This involves conducting inspections, tests, and audits to verify the quality of work and ensure compliance with standards.  

The synergy between QA and QC is what ensures the success of inspections during STO-events. By proactively identifying potential issues and implementing corrective actions, QA minimizes the likelihood of errors. Meanwhile, QC provides the necessary checks and balances to confirm that everything proceeds according to plan.  

QA and QC: Pillars of Operational Excellence  

In the fast-paced world of industrial shutdowns, every minute counts. Timely identification of discrepancies can mean the difference between staying on schedule and facing costly delays. Therefore, one should not overstate the role of QA and QC in STO-events. They are not just quality control measures; they are essential components of a comprehensive strategy to ensure the safety, reliability, and efficiency of industrial operations.  


In conclusion, while the challenges of managing inspections during STO-events may seem daunting, they can be effectively overcome by implementing robust QA and QC processes. By prioritizing quality and attention to detail, industrial facilities can not only meet regulatory requirements but also optimize their performance and minimize disruptions. After all, when it comes to STO-events, quality truly matters.  

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