The Standard ISO 9001 stipulates that documents shall be legible and readily identifiable.
This article by QA-Z Consulting Specialists focuses on one part of the Control of Documents clause among other specified requirements.
Legible: There can be a couple of ways in which to interpret legibility of documents.
It could obviously be said that documents need to have clear type, eliminating bad faded printed copies or copies with print cut off the side of the page or darkly copied material.
This could easily be applied to font and size of print. This is to include key pictures which are included in manuals for example, within machine operating instructional copies.
Signage too which is included as vital documentation on walls, etc should be replaced as they fade.
Diagrams and flow charts which do not clearly portray what is intended or what needs to be conveyed, are in fact in breach of legible documentation, as it is vital to the effective operation of the Quality or OH&S Management System. All documents need to be readable to the reader for which they are intended.
Under the category of being legible must surely be ‘clarity of understanding’. This would apply to quality procedure manuals as much as flow charts or process maps etc which must be understood by personnel on all levels of the organisation.
Organisational Charts also fall into this category as they often do not convey accurately the structure and may not refer to specific people by name or due to numerous handling and copying or reductions - the names are not readable.
Under the category of legibility must also include scanned copies of electronic documents and charts, etc.
Identifiable: This refers to each document being clearly titled and could extend also to individual pages of thicker documents which should be identified per page in the footer for easy identification when pages are separated. Along with this page titling it is also important that folders indicate clearly the contents for easy accessibility and faster management of document handling.
Electronically, identification refers to the clear identification of folders and page files for easy accessibility. It is very easy to have a messy computer desktop or documents unidentified floating around in no particular folder.
Documents must be controlled and in order to do that, the Document Controller within the organisation needs to show what those controls are. This part of the clause is just a small section of that control process and will be included within the Quality Manual’s Document Control procedure.