This paper outlines the metamorphoses between HSE compliance audits and HSE management system audits including the auditor skillsets required, the interactions between auditors and auditees expected, and the final report contents. The use of HSE management system audits to drive continuous improvement in a successful business performance will also be described.
Historically, HSE assessments have fallen into one of two categories - a compliance audit or a management system audit. While these two terms are often used interchangeably, they seek to deliver distinct outcomes, as follows:
A compliance audit verifies compliance against a defined set of requirements and is used to identify gaps in compliance.
A management system audit verifies the effectiveness of the management system as a whole and is used to drive continuous improvement for the entire organization.
Auditing results shall support the concept that business success depends on balancing and interconnecting business priorities such as; Research and Development, Environment, Health and Safety, Equipment Integrity, Production, and Quality. To drive continuous improvement and business performance using a management systems audit, a Bottom Up and Top Down, (BUTD) analysis technique has shown ultimate results in our experience. We conclude that using the BUTD approach when analyzing management approaches and techniques and operator behaviors & workplace conditions and not rely only on verification of documentation and bureaucracy has resulted in the desired continuous improvement.
This manuscript also discusses best practices and Organization HSE performance metrics resulted from assessment Audits that seek to effectively combine the two types of audits into a comprehensive and efficient audit event.