Friday, 30 December 2016

Compliance Audits

Compliance Audits 1910.119 (o)
What the regulation says:
(o)(1) Employers shall certify that they have evaluated compliance with the provisions of this section at least every three years to verify that the procedures and practices developed under the standard are adequate and are being followed.
(o)(2) The compliance audit shall be conducted by at least one person knowledgeable in the process.
(o)(3) A report of the findings of the audit shall be developed.
(o)(4) The employer shall promptly determine and document an appropriate response to each of the findings of the compliance audit, and document that deficiencies have been corrected.
(o)(5) Employers shall retain the two (2) most recent compliance audit reports.
bulletWhat it means:
bulletEmployers need to select a PSM trained individual or assemble a PSM trained team of people to audit the process safety management system and program. A small process or cold storage facility may need only one knowledgeable person to conduct an audit. The audit is to include an evaluation of the design and effectiveness of the process safety management system and a field inspection of the safety and health conditions and practices to verify that the employer's systems are effectively implemented and well documented. The audit should be conducted or lead by a person knowledgeable in audit techniques and who is impartial towards the facility or area being audited. The essential elements of an audit program include review of PSM program details, review of support documentation, conducting the audit, interviews, evaluation and corrective action, follow-up and documentation tracking recommendations to closure.
bulletPlanning in advance is essential to the success of the auditing process. Each employer needs to establish the format, staffing, scheduling and verification methods prior to conducting the audit. The format should be designed to provide the lead auditor with a procedure or checklist which details the requirements of each section of the standard. The names of the audit team members should be listed as part of the format as well. The checklist, if properly designed, could serve as the verification sheet which provides the auditor with the necessary information to expedite the review and assure that no requirements of the standard are omitted. This verification sheet format could also identify those elements that will require evaluation or a response to correct deficiencies. This sheet could also be used for developing the follow-up and documentation requirements.
bulletAn effective audit includes a review of the relevant documentation and process safety information, inspection of the physical facilities, and interviews with all levels of plant personnel and systematically analyze compliance with the provisions of the standard and any other corporate policies that are relevant. For example, the auditor will review all aspects of the training program as part of the overall audit. The auditor will review the written training program for adequacy of content, frequency of training, effectiveness of training in terms of its goals and objectives as well as to how it fits into meeting the standard's requirements, documentation, etc. Through interviews, the auditor can determine the employee's knowledge and awareness of the safety procedures, duties, rules, emergency response assignments, etc. During the inspection, the auditor will observe actual practices such as safety and health policies, procedures, and work authorization practices. This approach enables the auditor to identify deficiencies and determine where corrective actions or improvements are necessary.
bulletAn audit is a technique used to gather sufficient facts and information, including statistical information, to verify compliance with standards. Auditors should select as part of their preplanning a sample size sufficient to give a degree of confidence that the audit reflects the level of compliance with the standard. The auditor, through this systematic analysis, should document areas which require corrective action as well as those areas where the process safety management system is effective and working in an effective manner. This provides a record of the audit procedures and findings, and serves as a baseline of operation data for future audits. It will assist future auditors in determining changes or trends from previous audits.
bulletCorrective action is one of the most important parts of the audit. It includes not only addressing the identified deficiencies, but also planning, followup, and documentation. The corrective action process normally begins with a management review of the audit findings. The purpose of this review is to determine what actions are appropriate, and to establish priorities, timetables, resource allocations and requirements and responsibilities. In some cases, corrective action may involve a simple change in procedure or minor maintenance effort to remedy the concern. Management of change procedures need to be used, as appropriate, even for what may seem to be a minor change. Many of the deficiencies can be acted on promptly, while some may require engineering studies or indepth review of actual procedures and practices. There may be instances where no action is necessary and this is a valid response to an audit finding. All actions taken, including an explanation where no action is taken on a finding, needs to be documented as to what was done and why.
bulletIt is important to assure that each deficiency identified is addressed, the corrective action to be taken noted, and the audit person or team responsible be properly documented by the employer. To control the corrective action process, the employer should consider the use of a tracking system. This tracking system might include periodic status reports shared with affected levels of management, specific reports such as completion of an engineering study, and a final implementation report to provide closure for audit findings that have been through management of change, if appropriate, and then shared with affected employees and management. This type of tracking system provides the employer with the status of the corrective action. It also provides the documentation required to verify that appropriate corrective actions were taken on deficiencies identified in the audit.

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