Ten signs your auditors don’t know what they’re doing

Ten signs your auditors don’t know what they’re doing

AGO Certification strives towards equipping its clients to be the best in the world. As the only current provider in South Africa with Lead Auditor courses that carry dual registration; the company’s Christel Fouché gives some advice on choosing the right auditor.

South Africa is currently struggling with a skills shortage in terms of sourcing competent, independent and objective auditors to audit various sites, especially second- and third-party audits. There is a general norm that auditor credentials are not being checked or verified, prior to them conducting an audit on a company’s premises.

Remember: you are paying the bill and need to ensure that you are getting a quality auditor to come and assist you in identifying continual improvement opportunities in your management systems.

A common mistake is that we assume that the auditor is registered or competent. We also trust that if they say that they are registered – that in fact they are. Just as with any other provider of services, you need to verify the current status of the auditor as being valid, prior to engaging them in business.

Below are some of the signs that you might not be getting what you have asked for:

• Does not audit the night shift or other shifts

This is when people have less supervision and take short cuts; when they fall asleep or are most likely to be fatigued. It is also critical to audit shift changeover.

• Generates a “non-conformance” for not having a legal register

ISO9001, ISO14001 & OHSAS18001 standards, under the clauses for legislation, do not give a requirement to have a legal register. It does state that there must be access to legislation; it must be updated and communicated, but this can be done and proven in other ways as well.

• Generates the audit report during the actual audit

Ask how many days will be allocated to the audit and how many days the audit report writing will take. Be prepared to pay for an additional day for the completion of the audit report off site.

• Does not audit the “other” in legal and other clauses

“Other” refers to head office or group, customer, or contractual requirements (but it is not limited to these examples only). Ask when last an auditor prepared for this information. Did he or she audit the “other” requirements?

• Under legal – only audits the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act or Mine Health and Safety Act

This clause does not stipulate only one law – it implies all legislation applicable to your operation. If you comply with the OHS Act, for example, it does not mean you are legally compliant … It means you are legally compliant only to that particular law.

• Does not interview top management as part of the audit

• Comes to the audit without the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE)

It should be standard for every auditor to have their own PPE that can accommodate 80 percent of health and safety situations on site; bearing in mind that some sites would want to issue their own PPE.

• Arrives on site for the opening meeting without having done induction training

Auditors need to plan for logistical issues such as traveling time and induction. Audits shouldn’t be interrupted for induction training. What if the auditor cannot go on site to verify certain documentation issues because induction wasn’t undertaken?

• Cannot find their own registration cards or certificate of proof that they are registered with a body

It shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes for a registered auditor to prove on the SAATCA, IRCA or RABQSA (an Australian personnel and training certification body) websites that they are registered. Should these sites be off-line, the certificates or cards proving they are registered should be shown and available on their laptop. Verification should have been done one month prior to the auditor arriving on site.

• Demands proof of a management review “meeting”

The standards do not indicate this must be in the form of an actual “meeting”. Proof of the inputs and outputs being communicated, discussed and approved via e-mail should be acceptable.

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SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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