How often should you do internal audits in compliance with the ISO management system?
For those conversant with ISO management systems such as ISO 45001, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, you will know that the standard requires you to have a schedule for your internal audit.
The internal audit has to be done at planned intervals though the standard does not give the frequency of the internal audit, and it doesn’t mention that all processes should undergo an annual internal audit.
However, the Iso management systems allow businesses and organisations to establish the frequency of internal audits in their manner. It’s up to that business to decide what they want for themselves.
Now, the question is, how often should you do an internal audit in compliance with the ISO management system?
You can perform an audit monthly, quarterly, twice a year, or even once a year. The audit criteria will always determine or help determine the frequency of the internal audits.
Businesses have different processes in their domain, and it’s advised not to consider those processes in your business for an internal audit on the same timeline.
Below are things to consider when deciding the internal audit frequency in your business.
The complexity of the processes
Complexity is a state of being complicated- Whenever a process is complex or too difficult or has a high risk of causing problems, perform an internal audit on it frequently, maybe twice a year or quarterly. You can audit a low-risk process once a year or every other year.
Moreover, find out how you can determine the complexity of your process to know what to look out for when making your decisions on internal audit frequency.
History of non-conformities or incidents.
If your process has a history of frequent deficiencies and non-conformities, you can audit it frequently.
Others are processes in which you have a problem meeting your targets and objectives, do subject them to frequent audits quarterly or twice a year.
How mature is your process?
If you answer the above question correctly, it will help you to know if your process has maturity. The maturity of your process determines how well-established your process is, and when you have a well-established process that runs efficiently, you can audit it once a year or every other year.
Some companies or businesses have a budget for internal audits, and they will not go outside their budget to do more audits that will attract extra costs for them. The internal audit requires resources.
Requirements of the customer or regulatory requirement
Customers or regulatory bodies can decide what they want from their clients, and it can influence the frequency of internal audits.
Internal audit is one activity you need compliance in when looking at the ISO management system standards. The standard does not state clearly the frequency of such audits, but the above factors can help your company to plan better and maintain compliance with the requirements of the ISO system standard.
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Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.