• Sarah Bond
    35
    Hi Safety People,

    It's been a while since I've posted in here; however, I regularly check-in and appreciated the 'hive mind' information sharing.

    Background: A few months ago a client of mine had a TELARC audit. They passed and found the auditor professional, thorough and good at sharing information to make their system even better.

    Issue: The client was asked to re-write their SMS to match the ISO 450001 format. This is where I lost it. Their SMS has been a decade in the making, it's written in their language and everyone knows how to use it. For example, team leaders know that if they have a worker returning to work from an injury, they need to check Section 6 Rehabilitation and talk through the return to work form.

    Question: What would you do? Re-write the system to keep the auditor happy (anecdotally I've heard that consultants all over the country are charging a lot of money to do this). Or, push back, add in the 'appropriate language' where necessary?

    Keen to hear what everyone else thinks,

    Stay safe,

    SB
  • Sheri Greenwell
    230
    That's preposterous!!

    I would create a navigational guide that can assist the auditor to find what they are looking for. I always say the auditor doesn't live here, but YOU do.

    It's absolutely vital that the system is set up to support the business, not just to make life easy for the auditors - we pay auditors to think, apply, interpret, probe and verify against the criteria, not to dictate the structure.

    I like to think of the organisation's management system as a single building with multiple entrances; you can provide different stakeholders with different navigational strategies that all link into the same management system that is already established and proven effective.

    In the past, I have used hyperlinked documents to assist auditing. You could also set up a page on the intranet that links to your existing management system but is organised with links that relate to the relevant standard for ease of auditing.

    It's also an important consideration that different auditors have different perspectives and hobby horses. What's to say if you set the system up to suit one auditor that it would necessarily suit a different auditor at a different time??

    At the end of the day, if we start shaping our systems for passing audits instead of what works for the organisation, we are headed down a slippery slope.
  • Craig Marriott
    188
    Well said, Sheri.
    Push back. Push back. Then push back some more.
  • Steve H
    70
    I would create a navigational guide that can assist the auditor to find what they are looking for. I always say the auditor doesn't live here, but YOU do.

    It's absolutely vital that the system is set up to support the business, not just to make life easy for the auditors - we pay auditors to think, apply, interpret, probe and verify against the criteria, not to dictate the structure.
    Sheri Greenwell

    Your final sentence sums it up very nicely, Sheri, and ditto with Craig, if the system currently in existence is being used correctly and is understood by the users it's intended to protect, adjust the auditor not the system
  • Jono Johnson
    38
    Surprising to hear that and a little disappointed, particularly as I've had dealings with Telarc on a number of occasions & their auditors were pretty damn good.

    As long as your system covers off what's required in 450001 then tell them to shove it.
  • Garth Forsberg
    9
    I agree with Sherri and Craig as well.
    I've always provided an appendix look up table between the manual and different standards that it covers - especially true for QMS manuals that have had to cover off ISO, CCC (China), UL (USA) and other standards and keep multiple different auditors happy. They just had to look up the cross reference to get to the correct chapter.
    Don't go fixing it if it ain't broke.
    There's nothing in the standard saying how the manual has to be laid out.
  • Aaron Marshall
    53
    To be honest, I wouldn't even bother to push back.
    If you've passed the audit, then I'd ignore the request, or at most respond with "thank-you for the suggestion, we have investigated it and found that it is not suitable for our requirements."
    As Garth has said, a cross-reference is useful and is something I include in all of my manuals, particularly when various requirements are met within one manual.
  • Andrew
    317
    Time to push back on these leeches. All they seem to do is create extra work at extra cost with zero actual benefit to on the ground safety. While lining their own moral free pockets at the same time.

    (Confirms my basic operating principle that the more you write down the more you will get tripped up on)
  • Tony Walton
    69
    The paradox of our times is that we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, but less solutions. Just saying!
  • Cathy Faulkner
    9
    Agree with comments above - push back.

    Personally I've never advocated for accreditation against standards (unless it's a client/customer requirement). You can still have a HSMM designed to align or comply with the standard wihout getting accreditation and plenty of options for independent review of that system to make sure it's actually fit for purpose.
  • Rowly Brown
    29
    In my opinion conformance with the ISO Standards has become too administratively burdensome for businesses with less than 200+ employees and does little to foment good work practices and safe physical work environments. Andrew summed it up pretty well, as has Cathy. As with ACC's WSMP programme, there's very little analysis and insight gained into work practices from those Systems audits. It's more about the scope of the "system", and the practices can be somewhat different i.e."work done vs work imagined". Much better to get an external reviewer / auditor with good industry experience to conduct a "fresh eyes" review of physical conditions and the working environment, observe work being performed, engage in conversation with workers about what, how, and why they do things, and produce a report that explains what appears to be good, what appears to be not so good, and what to do about the "not so good" stuff.
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