If there is no ‘standard’ for ‘Safety Auditing’, is a Safety Audit possible? Perhaps it should be called an assurance visit? Is using the organisation’s Safety Policy or Safety Management Plan (as the standard) more effective than using ‘ISO 31000’ (Risk Management) or the ‘ICAO 9859 SMS’ as the standards?
THI have created a Safety Audit Schedule that takes account of every element of the MOD and ICAO ‘Four Pillars of Safety’ models and much more besides. Ensuring ‘Change Management’ is considered at board level with a helpful prompt both for the actual changes that might be taking place (new equipment, increasing/decreasing personnel, new buildings etc) and then a further prompt for all the things these changes might affect (documentation, new hazards, breaking regulation guidelines etc) is but one element.
It’s important to take account of audits already being undertaken (HSW/Quality/Environmental Protection/ISO/MAOS/Part 145 etc). Why not pull together all the key stakeholders that conduct audits to share information on what/when/who will be audited. This way you can minimise disruption of output and reduce ‘over audit’ frustration while maximising assurance information. Easier said than done but totally worth it! You effectively wrap your arms around the audit plan for the whole organisation and provide really useful direction while creating a centre of information and specialist excellence.
Achieving a ‘team’ of auditors that communicate is definitely the way to go but never forget to engage with the management and keep them informed of not only what you will be doing but why. Without the buy-in from the management you simply will not get the support from the essential work force whose first priority is always to produce and keep the company in profit.
Safety auditing is the ‘new kid on the block’ when considering the maturity of Quality for example, so it’s essential to use ALL your essential ‘soft skills’, become an excellent salesman and achieve good working relations if you are to be successful. Auditing is not just a science, it’s an art form that requires the very best interpersonal skill sets if it is reap the rewards and achieve its potential.