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Safety Officer cannot audit safety controls?

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by tony s, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I posted this in the OHS Forum but didn't get much traction so I am posting it here.

    During a CB audit of an ISO 9001/OHSAS 18001 certified construction company, a Minor NC was raised because: the internal audit records showed that the company's Safety Supervisor was part of the team that audited the operational controls at the construction project sites. The team composed of the Lead Internal Auditor, appointed internal auditors and the Safety Supervisor. According to the CB auditor, having the Safety Supervisor as part of the team violates the requirement that "Auditors shall not audit their own work." We appealed that the Safety Supervisor only acted as a technical resource person of the audit team and did not perform the actual audit. Each construction project site has at least two (2) Safety Officers assigned to ensure operational controls are established and implemented. These Safety Officers report to the Safety Supervisor.

    Was the finding of the CB auditor valid? What's your take on this?
     
  2. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I have to bump this thread again to get your valuable inputs.

    Since I started this thread, I should give first my take on this issue: I find the issue NOT in violation of the standard. Actually we appealed our case to the CB auditor but to no avail. She asserted that although there are Safety Officers assigned to construction project sites to enforce the safety controls, they are still under the supervision of the Safety Supervisor. Cautious of antagonizing the CB auditor, the management of the company submits to the reasoning of the auditor and accepted the minor NC.
     
  3. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    If the name of the safety supervisor appears in the audit report or anywhere in the audit schedule, then he is auditing his own work. if this audit is to ISO9001:2015, you can appeal your case with success. I just did that during my upgrade audit and the CB throw out the NC.
     
  4. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the name of the Safety Supervisor, including the other members of the audit team, appeared on the audit schedule but not on issued CARs. Because we find having the Safety Supervisor's input to the audit team valuable, particularly in helping the audit team in verifying technical construction safety controls, we'll stick on having him as part of the audit team. We just have to clearly indicate the role of any technical resource person on the audit schedule on our next internal audits.
     
  5. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    The 2015 version of 9001 has eliminated the specific wording saying"auditors shall not audit their own work". My opinion is that this was intentional and leaves the subject open to some interpretation. Looking at various leading quality consultants sites online seems to show they are ignoring this and simply extending the prohibition as listed in the 2008 version. Of course I do not know anything about 18001, so I do not know what specifics there may be in that.
     
  6. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    OHSAS 18001:2007 doesn't have the statement like in ISO 9001:2008's "Auditors shall not audit their own work". What OHSAS have is this:
    "Selection of auditors and conduct of audits shall ensure objectivity and the impartiality of the audit process", which is the same with ISO 9001:2015's "The organization shall...c) select auditors and conduct audits to ensure objectivity and the impartiality of the audit process".
     
  7. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    So the statement itself implies that there are ways to "ensure objectivity and impartiality", one of which, of course, is not auditing your own work, but if that was the only option, the statement would have been left in. I have always argued that there are alternatives to this approach, such as following a drawn up audit programme (drawn up by others), or some other such option. We are a small company here, and we use audit 'templates' designed to identify critical areas in our procedures and processess. Following this, it is not possible to be very biased in filling out "yes" or "no" answers or supplying evidence. It is not perfect, but the requirement is not for perfection, it is for a system.
     
  8. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Since we have an integrated QHS management system/s, the CB auditor raised it against ISO 9001:2008. Even so, I still believe that we did not violate the requirements in 8.2.2 since the Safety Supervisor was just part of the audit team and only acted as the technical resource person.
     
  9. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a rubbish finding. If the safety person was auditing safety, it's not in the scope of a QMS internal audit and the CB auditor clearly has zero expertise of auditing an integrated management system. Tell your CB, Tony, to remove the finding and instruct them to ensure the (next) auditor is competent in integrated management systems...
     
    Bev D and tony s like this.
  10. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    Last time my systems were audited...I was there.
    If it were ONLY the safety officer doing the audit, there may be grounds for this finding.
    Being that it was a team of people, AT LEAST ONE of which was not directly involved in the process, the finding is pretty silly.
    Auditing or reviewing a system, and having the person responsible for the system there...well that's just normal.
    Why should I wait for paperwork to tell me a problem is found when I can be right there when the objective party finds or questions it?
     
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