Published: 18 Jun 2018

Stephen Asbury talks about behaviours to avoid and tips to improve your auditing skills

As Managing Director of a registered certification body, an IRCA Lead Auditor, I have observed the practice of many health, safety, environment  and quality (HSEQ) auditors. I was often left feeling unimpressed by what I saw and it got me thinking about the common behaviours and characteristics that I’ve seen in my time, which represent ineffective auditing. Below is a table that outlines 10 common incorrect ways of dealing with audits and my tips for how to improve. The aim of the table is to challenge you (if you are an auditor that ticks any of the wrong charateristics) to demonstrate the improvement messages. If you are not an auditor, I challenge you to hold those who audit you to these same messages.

Effective risk-based audits add value to themed or integrated management system implementations. Case studies and experience demonstrates that structured approaches to HSEQ risk management is more effective at mitigating losses and maximising opportunities. And there is considerable opportunity. For example, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that every 15 seconds a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease and more than 150 are injured. By focusing on a structured sample of significant risks and using competent auditing techniques, auditors can demonstrate their value to their organisations, clients and society.

Figure 1 – Selection of significant risks to the achievement of the auditee’s objectives leads to review and testing of the management system horizontally through the PDCA cycle.

About the author: Stephen Asbury, MBA FIEMA, PEA CEnv CFIOSH, Author of Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Audits – A Risk-based Approach