March 26, 2020 / Angela Oler

The Benefits of OHSMS Audits Start with Competent Auditors

AIHA Registry Programs recognizes the importance of responding to trends in the occupational health and safety industry. So, in response to the publication of ISO 45001:2018, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Requirements with Guidance for Use, AIHA Registry Programs created the Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) Auditor Registry as a means of recognizing competent auditors.

The importance of an effective occupational health and safety management system cannot be overstated; in order to identify and address potential hazards in the workplace, employers and managers need competent auditors. Having auditors who can conduct effective audits and issue appropriate audit findings is the only way for an organization to maintain a culture of continuous improvement.

In order to qualify to test, candidates must have a required combination of education, training, experience, and auditing hours. Passing the OHSMS Auditor Registry Exam is required to earn the credential and be listed on AIHA Registry Programs’ website.

An Auditor’s Own Words on Auditing

AIHA Registry Programs recently caught up with Carl Farley, MSPH, CIH, CSP, one of the first to pass the OHSMS Auditor Registry Exam at AIHce EXP 2019. Farley spent twenty years in environment, health, and safety (EHS) management within the semiconductor industry, and now teaches industrial hygiene at Utah State University and consults in his free time. He has shared with us his perspective on the importance of OHSMS audits, and the crucial role auditors play in the workplace.

“Just as you would expect your analytical laboratory to have a good quality analysis and quality control program,” Farley said, “it only makes sense that occupational health and safety programs also measure and improve their performance.”

Farley added, “A key component of improving any OHS management program is conducting audits. Auditing, if done right, not only improves OHS performance, but quality and productivity as well.”

It Takes a Team

In the comprehensive world of OHSMS auditing, employees, management, and OHSMS auditors play crucial, interdependent roles. “If done correctly, auditing can lead to improved networking—which is probably the most important thing we must do to be successful,” Farley explained.

He shared a personal experience that highlighted the importance of interdependence, and the benefits of working together, to solve a problem that, while only a mild safety issue, profoundly affected the product quality. “In talking with the front-line employees, it turns out they knew about the issue but hadn’t had a successful means of bringing its attention to management until the audit,” Farley said. “In the end, a team effort solved the issue, employees felt more empowered, and I gained some allies from the manufacturing side of things, which helped me in future OHS efforts.” He added that, throughout his career, “I’ve probably learned as much from those I audit as they’ve learned from me.” 

Auditors Have a Key Role in the Success of an Audit

Farley stressed the part that auditors play in the outcome of an audit, noting that “audits can either be a valuable and educational process, or a dreaded time-sink that occupies a large block of your week.”

OHSMS audits assist the goal of increased safety in the workplace, and the process can yield a wealth of additional benefits: increased OHSMS performance, quality, productivity, networking, and camaraderie between employees, auditors, and management. Farley’s final thought was on how AIHA Registry Programs’ new project advances the cause: “I’m excited that AIHA’s OHSMS Auditor Registry Program has kicked off as a resource to help provide quality auditors!”

Angela Oler

Angela Oler is director of AIHA Registry Programs, LLC.


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