Auditing Integrated Management Systems – The Impact of ISO 19011

| May 24, 2011

Last week at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference in Portland, I was one of the speakers on a roundtable panel tasked with discussing the topic Integrated Solutions in Sustainable Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.  My presentation was on Auditing Integrated Management Systems – The Impact of ISO 19011.

Other presenters talked about what the requirements are for a management system and how to establish a management system within an organization.  I discussed management system auditing.

In particular, I outlined five ways that ISO 19011 impacts management system auditing –

  1. Defines what is – and is not – an audit.  One of the key things a standard does is establish common definitions for the terms used within that standard.  For purposes of management system auditing, ISO 19011 defines what an audit is – the dictionary does not.  Importantly, in order to be an “ISO audit”, an assessment activity MUST be objective, independent and documented.  This means that a lot of the activities that safety professionals refer to as “audits” really are not.
  2. Fosters audit program integration.  Since ISO 19011 covers all types of audits (internal, supply chain, certification) for all subject matter disciplines (safety, quality, environmental…) in all types and sizes of organizations, it sets out a common structure and guidelines for establishing an audit program.  There can be one program instead of many. 
  3. Sets a global standard for audits.  The overarching goal of ISO is harmonized international standards.  Since ISO 19011 is an international standard, it can be applied anywhere in the World.
  4. Defines what an audit program is.  Section 4.5.5 of IS0 14001 and OHSAS 18001 require that both audit procedures and an audit program be established, implemented and maintained.  Note that this is different than the requirements in other sections which only require that procedures be established.  ISO 19011 provides the answer for what makes up an audit program.
  5. Provides consistent criteria for evaluating auditor competence.  In the upcoming revision of ISO 19011, the focus of Section 7 of ISO 19011 will shift from defining auditor competence criteria to setting out a process for evaluating auditor competence.  The auditing organization needs to have a process in place to select the appropriate audit team members to meet the audit program objectives.

For more information, click here to view a copy of my presentation slides.

© ENLAR® Compliance Services, Inc. (2011)

Category: OHSMS Auditing, Standards & Certification

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