EMS Manual - External auditor expectations

Kimmy

Involved In Discussions
#1
I am in the process of revising our EMS manual to address the 2015 version requirements.

Our 2004 manual was laid out so that each element was addressed individually in the same order as listed in the standard. That is how I intended to revise our manual but I have also seen examples of others that have a much less structured manual. These do not list the elements at all but rather provide the scope and policy and then touch on some of the other requirements of an EMS such as Management Responsibilities, resources, operations control, and checking.

Looking for input as to whether auditors would prefer to see each element addressed in the manual or would they prefer just a general overview of the companies EMS system.

Thanks,

Kim
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
#2
I suppose most auditors would prefer you to use the numbering system to align the manual with the standard.

The fact is, an EMS manual is not even required. If you have one, it should be formatted and constructed to serve your needs, such as to provide a structure for personnel to understand the management system. Expecting otherwise just shows the auditors are more interested in what is easier for them than how well the manual serves your interested parties.
:2cents:
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#3
OK here's the deal, I've been an EMS auditor since 1999, imagine it, been there done that, all I do at this stage of the game is 3rd party audits, that's it, I don't teach, consult, him or haw, just audit..Jen is pretty much right on.

As an auditor I have no expectations and any auditor that goes into an audit with them needs to be given an invitation to leave right then and there! Especially 3rd party external types...Bye-Bye

When it comes to numbering, having a manual, blue paper, white paper with lines, headers, footers and all that other dribble, I care not in the least, I've more important things to be concerned with:

1- Do you have a means or method to tell one document from another so nobody gets confused as to where their eyes are to pay attention and what they're seeing? Binary answer Yes or No

2- Do you have means or a method to make sure what you write down is as correct as you can determine and be able to fix what's broke when you find an "Oops", and do you do it without fail? Binary answer Yes or No

3- Do you have a means or method to get rid of the old document stuff when it just isn't right any more, possibly access it later for some oddball, reason or another, and can you show me how you do it? Binary answer Yes or No

4- Do you think you need some kind of manual or other document no matter what you call it that can be something like a blueprint or plan of your EMS to help give everyone that needs it, a visual picture of whats what? Binary answer Yes or No

Now remember, the word "You" can be plural and or all inclusive to your organization especially for those folks that really need to know this stuff...Oh yeah, you get to pick and choose who they are as well, not that squint eyed, nosy external auditor.

Everything else is pretty much dribble and I don't care.
 
#4
Looking for input as to whether auditors would prefer to see each element addressed in the manual or would they prefer just a general overview of the companies EMS system.

Thanks,

Kim
Kim:
It really doesn't matter what auditors prefer. Besides, you don't have a crystal ball. That's not something you should be concerning yourself with and, what's more, every auditor is different and, in an extreme situation, you will be fed a lot of different advice or even told by subsequent auditors to do it "this way" or "that way". Just do what you want and show that your own people can use the EMS.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
#5
To be clear, I don't lump Randy in with the category "most auditors"... ;)

I see a lot of people out there complaining about how the new standards are too hard to audit to. What they are really saying is they don't have, or want to use their skills in a way needed to recognize conformance to requirements when they see it; they would prefer it to be easier.
:2cents:

Listen to Randy's and Andy's advice both spot on. :agree1:
 
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