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ISO internal audits are important for gaining ISO certification as well as for the overall performance of the business. This article discusses important aspects of ISO 45001 internal audits that an organization should know.

ISO 45001 contains a particular section where the Standard wants an organization to perform internal audits. Internal audits should meet the essential elements of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System. The audit reports shall be made available to the external auditors who will conduct the final audit for certification. An organization should schedule the audit based on the outcomes of the risk assessment programs and the previous internal audit reports. According to the ISO experts, several clauses in ISO 45001, including the internal audits, should be taken even more seriously than ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 clauses.

This article is going to discuss the significance of ISO 45001 internal audits and when and how an organization should audit the Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

Significance of Internal Audit

Most organizations plan internal audits at regular intervals, and just prior to conducting the management review. In this context, it is important to note that the results of incidents, accidents, shareholder input, and risk assessment should be considered when determining internal audit frequency.

There are many advantages of internal auditing, such as:

• Improves control
• Strengthens the relationship between the management and the employees
• Builds better communication among different departments of an organization
• How smooth the organization to process dependence rather than person-dependence
• Helps identify redundancies in operational and control procedures
• Can provide recommendations to escalate the efficiency and effectiveness of the procedures
• Provides an Early Warning System to detect the deficiencies and eliminate them from the system
• Increases accountability within the organization

No matter, whether it is ISO 17025 internal audits or ISO 45001, with a well-staffed internal audit function, top management should still have a proper risk management system, risk controllers, and an effective set of corrective and preventive actions at its fingertips.

When and how the audit should be executed?

As stated above, the internal audits should be performed at the planned intervals. But also, audits can be performed anytime when an organization will feel it is urgent. Now you know when to should schedule audits, it is important to select right auditors. There are two ways of hiring internal auditors- using internal resources or outsourcing auditing services from independent firms. Internal resources should be provided with proper training before they start auditing.

On the other hand, choosing professional services for ISO 45001 internal audits is also a great choice. It makes the task easier, faster, and better.

Internal auditors should be provided with all the essential information. This information is the input that is going to be investigated for generating an accurate audit report. This information could include:

• Risk Assessment Credentials
• Performance Measurement of Occupational Health and Safety Management System
• Stakeholders’ details
• Previous years’ audit report

How to Get Maximum Benefits From Your Internal Audit?

As per ISO 45001 Standard, internal audit reports must be made available to management. Management should have a clear insight into the audit reports so that they make the right decision on corrective and preventive actions. This also helps with continual improvement of an organization as well.

Auditors should be given access to confidential information relevant to the ISO 45001 Standard.
However, it is important to ensure that the audit is honest and accurate.

Since ISO 45001 follows the PDCA model (“Plan-Do-Check-Act”), it is important to ensure that the corrective actions are correctly implemented and maintained.

A Final Takeaway

ISO 45001 certification is an organization’s ticket to the international market and internal audits are mandatory for gaining this certification. Hence, whenever an organization is looking for this Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard, importance should be given to the internal audit. Just performing the audit is not enough. Management must ensure that they are taking proper initiative based on the audit reports and they are making maximum use of the internal audit. To make the internal audits successful, it is also important to engage employees and management in the audit procedure. Everyone’s contribution is needed for the success of the internal audits.

Author's Bio: 

Edgar Somerville is a professional Quality assurance auditor who takes a keen interest in ISO 45001 internal audits and other similar audits. He has produced countless blogs on ISO internal audits including ISO 17025 internal audit and ISO 14001 internal audit.