Pass your audit first time with these 6 steps

Whether you have a food safety or health and safety audit on the way, here are a few steps you can take to ensure a smooth and successful audit.

1. Prepare the site

Unfortunately, when it comes to audits, it is often true that by failing to prepare you really are preparing to fail. The impression of an organised operation during an audit is invaluable. By ensuring you have the necessary documents to hand when asked for, you are proving to the auditor that you operate to professional standards within your business and take compliance seriously. Take time to ensure that any documents you may need during the audit are easy accessible.

2. Pre-audit

Set out time to conduct thorough internal audits, identify full details of how your business conforms and the evidence to prove it to the auditor. It is advisable to concentrate on a specific section at a time to make sure you have fully covered all aspects of compliance. Unfortunately, sometimes businesses believe that have achieved full compliance to a clause when in fact, they have missed part of the requirement or simply misread it.

3. Check yourself

Never underestimate the power of a list! Still an effective method for project management, pen and paper, tablets, online project management tools all do the job.  Simply the process of creating a list will bring to light tasks you may have already forgotten. Before an audit, list all ares of compliance, no matter how minor and tick off as you progress.

4. Tidy business, tidy mind.

To give your business the best opportunity of a successful audit, make sure everywhere is clean, tidy and well maintained. To use another cliché, first impressions really do count. If an auditor sees a well maintained organisation, you will find that they are more likely to look for conformances as opposed to non-conformances when it comes to reviewing paperwork and systems.

5. Prepare your staff.

The pressure of an audit can sometimes make staff feel uneasy and respond differently to how they would normally. It is so important to make provide staff with thorough training and ensure they are confident that they understand the safety or quality implications of their role. It is also beneficial to prepare a list of typical auditor questions to provide an insight as to what’s coming. Reinforce to staff the necessity of remain calm when asked a question and to answer clearly, concisely.

6. Don’t aggravate the auditor

One of the worst things you can do in an audit is to get on the wrong side of the auditor by arguing with them. If you disagree with the auditors interpretation or application of the standard, discuss, don’t argue. Respectfully ask them to explain again so that you can further understand.

For more information on auditing, our parent company CFS provide assistance with auditing a wide range of safety standards and can advise on best practice for your business. Talk to an expert on 08450 267 745.

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