News Brief April 2019 - Audit Protocol and Standards

Flight Safety News Brief April 2019 - Audit Protocol and Standards

Flight Safety News Brief 30/04/2019


Ethics, Protocol & Declining Standards

Economic pressure coupled with the inevitable retrenchment of skilled personnel often impacts corporate Safety Departments. This creates challenges for reputable aviation Auditors and Consultants and extends into the offshore Helideck Inspection area of operations.

With organisations focussed on tightening budgets, implementing and maintaining a Quality Management System (QMS) to industry standards, including using third party external ISO Certified organisations to conduct safety audits and inspections, is often the first area to be affected through extended conventional audit timelines and the utilisation of unskilled and uncertified labour to conduct safety audits.

This undermines the minimum acceptable industry safety standards and can place an organisation at real risk of serious litigation should an accident/incident occur.

An industry standard audit process will always include an unbiased third-party analysis by a certified organisation with qualified personnel that have years of experience in the aviation industry. This ensures the external audit result is not at risk of being tampered with or diluted in order to comply with budgetary or internal company influences.

Shortcutting the quality process of monitoring, reporting and responding actively to implement system improvements has been directly responsible for fatal accidents. The resulting outcome can end up costing a company more than the value of the company.

It is therefore imperative that the following guidelines are observed:

  • The auditing company should be ISO 9001:2015 certified as this ensures that all documented, reporting and close-out procedures are followed.
  • The auditors should be ISO 9001:2015 certified.
  • Audit processes should be conducted with a two-man team in keeping with correct ISO 9001:2015 audit technique.
  • The auditors should have an aviation qualification and depth of experience relevant to their audit tasking.
  • The audit company should have a proven record of unbiased auditing in keeping with high ethical standards.
  • The audit process applied should be tried and tested and subjected to legal review.

The audit protocol analysis provided, indicates that there is increasing evidence that these insidious system failures developing, are associated with inexperience and cost cutting practices.