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Auditing without a procedure: ISO 14001:2015

Many customers wonder, how do you audit when there is no documented procedure to audit against?

With the documentation requirements, the auditor’s responsibility will be to determine if the necessary procedures and work instructions have been documented. How can an auditor determine if a process is controlled if there is no procedure or work instruction?

Auditors responsibilities are to evaluate if a process if being performed consistent, with dependable and acceptable results. An auditor can determine this by asking several people performing the process questions. Some ways of doing this are to ask people individually, so people do not influence one another, and to look for consistency between answers.

Some sample questions are:

  • Can you explain the steps to this process?
  • What measuring and monitoring is required for this process?
  • What are acceptable ranges for the equipment?
  • What are the acceptance criteria for the product?
  • What records do you need to complete for this process? 

When the auditor has asked enough people, there should be a large enough pool to understand if the process varies greatly or is consistent. If the answers vary, there should be a procedure put into place. The need for a procedure will generally depend on the complexity of the process and the training of the people responsible for the process.


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