Certification audit process
Awareness during a certification audit – lessons to be learnt.
I recently had a witnessed assessment performed on me and made a mistake that I just wanted to make people aware of as may affect you in future.
I will lay out the scenario below:
I was auditing an organisation and I hung around for a short period of time by an un-manned machine as I was waiting for the operator to come along and perform his hourly patrol inspection. The operator arrived and I spoke to him briefly about his inspection process and then I let him get on with the task. Whilst he was starting his inspection I was also talking to the supervisor about the process, he was explaining that he was a new operator/inspector and was in training and the process to which the supervisor checks off a sample himself and signs off the final inspection when the job has been completed and he is happy with it. Whilst I had one eye on the supervisor and one eye on the operator/inspector I saw him being a bid fiddly with the Verniers and as I turned both eyes towards him to see if he knew what he was doing the supervisor jumped in and showed the operator how to correctly take measurements on the part. I wasn’t sure if he messed up before and wrote down correct measurements or not so I didn’t raise an issue as the measurements I physically saw him take were correct. I should have got a bit more involved in this process and challenged him a little bit more but as the supervisor checked the parts himself on his own patrol and I wasn’t sure if I saw him using them incorrectly or not I moved on.
The above was observed by UKAS who was watching the operator rather than listening to the supervisor discussions with myself and he confirmed during my close out meeting that the operator did in fact use the Verniers incorrectly and that I should have raised the issue. There is nothing I can do about that now as the job is gone now and the audit is over, the parts I saw him correctly measure were within requirements which gives me a bit more confidence that the ones he was measuring incorrectly were in fact correct. The part wasn’t a critical part, I don’t think the impact of that part is a cause of concern but he may have also been inspecting other parts that were incorrectly being measured.
There are a few lessons to learn from this that we should all be more aware of:
1-when auditing a process of a more critical nature (I would class inspection as critical) then do not speak to anyone else at that moment in time, pay full attention to the operator/auditee. If you have any questions for the supervisor or anyone else then leave them until after you have completed that process with the auditee.
2-If you think you saw something but wasn’t sure then you should challenge the process, maybe get another example elsewhere.
3-Verify some of the measurement results that are recorded, ask someone to take a sample inspection of parts even if they have already been inspected. To be honest I usually do this anyway as find it useful.
4-check the organisations process for monitoring operators/employees who have been given additional responsibility but are under supervision. How is this supervision controlled and how are those activities verified by someone who is already deemed competent etc.