In this article, we’ll look at how to make proper audit judgements.
The effectiveness of a health and safety management system is a critical aspect of any organisation’s operations. To ensure that it is adequate, it must be subjected to regular audits to determine if it meets the relevant standards or benchmarks. However, it is essential to note that the audit process can only be effective if there are clear standards or benchmarks to measure against. If these do not exist, the audit process may be unreliable, and the results may not be accurate or useful.
In order to conduct an effective audit, it is crucial to refer to legal standards, HSE guidance, and applicable industry standards to inform audit judgements. This ensures that the audit is comprehensive and takes into account all relevant factors. The audit team should evaluate the evidence against the audit criteria to determine audit findings. These findings can indicate conformity or nonconformity with the criteria.
When specified by the audit plan, individual audit findings should include conformity and good practices along with supporting evidence, opportunities for improvement, and any recommendations to the auditee. By doing so, the audit process becomes a valuable tool for improving the health and safety management system and ensuring compliance with relevant standards.
Nonconformity is a significant aspect of the audit process. It refers to any deviation from relevant work standards, legal requirements, health and safety management system requirements, and more. Nonconformities and their supporting audit evidence should be recorded and may be graded. The audit team should review these findings with the auditee to ensure accuracy and understanding. Any diverging opinions should be resolved, and unresolved points should be recorded.
Throughout the audit, the team should meet as needed to review findings. By following these steps, the audit process can help improve the health and safety management system and ensure compliance with relevant standards, thereby promoting a safe and healthy workplace environment.