Auditing to ISO19011 Guidelines on quality and/or environmental management systems auditing;
Internal auditing to demonstrate compliance; and
Assist (mentor) your audit teams for the most beneficial outcome.
ISO8402 defines an audit as, "A systematic and independent examination to determine whether activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve objectives."
It should be noted that an audit checks compliance with planned arrangements (procedures) and implementation of these arrangements. The decision as to whether these arrangements are suitable to achieve objectives is assessed as part of the determination of the effectiveness of the management system.
As defined then, an audit is an information gathering activity so that the need for improvement or corrective action may be evaluated. There is no witch-hunting or apportioning blame for problems. It is important to establish this fact amongst auditees because defensiveness is not conducive to information flow.
Audits may be internal or external and do not necessarily have to cover the whole system at once but may cover elements of it. Independence is ensured by the auditors having no direct responsibility in the audited area but preferably working in co-operation with the relevant personnel.
External safety and health audits are completed over two stages. The first stage is known as the desktop audit, where the audit team gains an understanding of the systems and processes.
During this stage the following steps are undertaken:
accident / incident trending;
risk review; and
Once the audit team has an in-depth knowledge of the systems the compliance audit can be completed.
During this phase of the audit the following steps are undertaken:
preparation of conclusions;
closing meeting; and
preparation of audit report.
An internal audit is an audit by an organisation on itself. Note that this is not necessarily on one site; internal audits can be carried out on overseas sites, for example.
Audit Services International can assist you with your internal auditing by training your auditors (refer to the 2 day Internal Auditor Course) or by being a member of your audit team.