Six tips your safety auditor should use to make the audit process a success
1. Be precise
This is particularly recommended since loosely phrased questions or requests can cause a lot of confusion. You can look at them as just superfluous information. Your safety auditor should consciously strive to convey exactly what he intends in all his communication with people.
2. Be prepared
The safety auditor shouldn't waste people's time getting details he should already know. He'll earn people's respect by knowing what he's doing. An ill-prepared auditor will find it much harder to get the full cooperation of people.
3. Keep a sense of proportion
Your safety auditor should not make it his business to ferret out examples of human error. And this brings us back to not making this a stressful situation! These will invariably turn up if you dig deep enough in any organisation. After all, everyone (even an auditor) makes an occasional mistake. This evidence of human fallibility should be of far less interest and concern to the auditor than evidence of a real deficiency in the management systems.
Note that if the evidence suggests that general control in an area is satisfactory, the auditor should accept this and move on to a new area.
The auditor shouldn't linger in the hope of turning up a few faults. This only creates unnecessary stress and consumes time!
The magnitude and significance of a deficiency is the vital issue. To pursue unimportant errors continually is to waste time and effort and risk alienating the persons being audited as well.
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4. Be human
You might find this hard to believe, but some people might view a safety auditor as an unnecessary evil. So while following the established procedure, the auditor should be able to break the ice and actually get helped by the people being audited since they will be able to relax and get things moving.
If a difficult situation arises, for example one involving a deficiency on a person's part, the auditor should try to defuse it. He might truthfully say, for instance, that he has come across the same mistake made in other departments/areas in the past. The proceedings can be held up if emotions run too high or personnel become over-anxious.
5. Be determined, decisive and direct
It's always a good idea for the safety auditor to display determination to get the business of the audit conducted efficiently and promptly. The auditor must not be allowed to think he can get away with presenting incomplete information or delaying the proceedings unnecessarily. When sufficient evidence has been collected and sifted, the auditor shouldn't hesitate to come to a conclusion based on it. He should then convey his decision directly to the relevant person. Once there's enough evidence to form the basis of a sound judgement, there's no point going over the same ground again, or watering down conclusions.
6. Get on with the job
The final tip refers to the fact thata safety auditor should avoid spending a lot of time in unnecessary or irrelevant conversations. Here again, he can set an example to the company and demonstrate his resolve to get the business of the audit conducted as efficiently as possible.
We hope that you found these tips useful and that you'll approach the audit with a new, fresh and efficient view of things!