An audit is a word I grew up hearing about it. I thought it only has concerns about the financial aspect. Whenever I hear about audit back then, it tells me that it is all about the account and finance department to check how money comes in and goes out in an establishment.
However, when I joined the safety profession, it became a different word to me. I started hearing about management system audit.
Similarly, On some occasions, I was told about having a team of auditors coming to do audits and when I asked they say they are coming to check our system to make sure they are in order. To get a good glimpse of the audit, let’s take a look at the management systems, auditors and some terms in the audit.
ISO International organization for standardization has a lot of management systems. In QHSE Profession, three stands out as the key one a safety professional should acquaint himself with very well. The management systems are Quality Management system-QMS ISO 9001-2015, Environmental management system-EMS ISO 14001-2015, Occupational health and safety management system OH&SMS OHSAS 18001.
Who is an Auditor?
An auditor is a person with relevant knowledge and experience on the system or audit criteria. Audit criteria are a set of policies, procedures, and requirements. Audit criteria are ISO 9001-2015, ISO 14001-2015 etc. An auditor conducts an audit on a given criterion.
For example, a road safety officer will have to stop a driver to check if his seat belt is in order. Not having a seatbelt violates the driving rules. So the road safety personnel conducts an audit with regards to their regulations.
However, an auditor conducts an audit looking at the requirements of the management system.
Terms used in audits.
These are terms in audits, and an auditor has to be familiar with them.
Audit- Systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria have been fulfilled.
Most of all, the audit criteria can be ISO 9001-2015. Audit criteria are sets of policies, procedures and requirements. And when an auditor conducts an audit, he gets audit evidence. He compares It with the audit criteria to see how far the requirements have been followed.
- Audit findings -This is the result of the evaluation of audit evidence against the audit criteria.
- Auditee- This is an organization an auditor is auditing.
- Audit client-this is a company or a person requesting an audit.
- Audit team– This is one or more auditors conducting an audit. Technical experts do join them in the audit team.
- Audit plan-This involves a description of activities and arrangement of audits.
- Technical expert– A Person who provides specific knowledge or expertise to the audit team.
- Audit scope -The extent and boundaries of an audit.
Having a good knowledge of audit is very important. And most importantly for people that are in the profession. Audits just like an examination produce a result and scores. With these, the organisation can make informed changes with the results obtained following an audit program. And also it helps to keep the company in check.
Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.