Manufacturing Readiness Levels with a Focus on Environmental Health and Safety

Susan Donaldson, MS, CHMM
EHS safety Site Leader and Alternate Research Site Leader
General Electric Global Research – Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center (AMSTC)

Susan DonaldsonA large number of publications in recent years have explored manufacturing readiness levels (MRLs) as they are currently used in industry. The primary focus of these publications and MRLs has been on risk and investment factors; there has been a lack of attention to environmental health and safety (EHS) risk factors at all but the final MRL levels. Visiting Partner Susan Donaldson recognized the need to consider EHS risk factors at all stages of the production process, from research and development to the final manufacturing process.

Susan’s project has involved producing a test case in which EHS risk factors are accounted for at each MRL stage. By doing so, she hopes to provide a more robust MRL program which ensures that EHS concerns are addressed in a proactive rather than a reactive manner. In turn, this will add value to the manufacturer by providing enhanced efficiency in the manufacturing process, avoiding additional costs to the product post-launch, and increasing the health and safety of their workers.