3 Tips To Prepare For A Safety Audit
In the aviation industry, aviation SMS audits are often carried out. These are done to ensure that players in the field are complying with set standards. Set standards may be those put in place by international aviation bodies, recognized aviation boards and regional and local aviation boards. For safety managers, the approach of an audit is a time that feels like they are preparing for some final exams at school. There is a lot at stake.
Apart from the fact that the safety manager’s job may be threatened by failed audits, there are more serious implications of an aviation safety audits for the airline companies. They risk losing their license to operate if they are found wanting in certain areas of safety. For most organizations, it is important to understand what is involved in such an audit and how to prepare for it.
What is involved in a safety audit?
A security checking is carried out by a designated auditor following an established checklist. Most times, the checklist includes things like; SMS documentation, SMS training, risk management policies and procedures, safety policies, risk assessment, safety performance monitoring and a host of others. the checklist to be used for the audit may be prepared by an independent auditor or may be required by a recognized aviation audit body.
While the audit process may follow a checklist, there is always room for the opinion of the auditor. For a company preparing to undergo an audit, what is important is for them to understand what is being audited and how to prepare for it. To be on the safe side, it is better to get the audit checklist that will be used by the auditor.
The role of external an internal auditors
During a safety audit, the authorized regulatory body may assign an independent auditor to carry out the audit. This independent auditor is an external auditor as they are not under the employ the company that is under audit. The external auditor reports directly to the regulatory body. Internal auditors on the other hand work for the company under audit. To prepare for an audit, internal auditors should be asked to do a pre audit using the checklist that will be used by the external auditor.
What to expect during the audit
Generally the external auditor will come in and try to understand what is happening with safety in the company by going through his checklist. They will try to know if the Aviation Company or airline is adhering to set standards and practices. They will gather information by having interviews with relevant employees, discussing with senior management, visual inspection of the surroundings, and inspection of any SMS documentation.
When preparing for an audit, it is important to manage expectations correctly. Note that for the same operation, different auditors may come up with different results. Auditors may focus on different areas and may also be strict or soft depending on whether or not the company is still in its early years. To save you and your company a lot of trouble, prepare to receive the auditors. Make sure any documentation that they may need is handy.