ESH (MS) Audits Risk Based Approach!

This is my 5th session on state of ESH Nation INDIA. This 40 min youtube upload (I thought I could do in 25) covers the RISK BASED Approach to ESH audits at facilities. I have shared some of my experiences of ESH& ISO MS audits across the globe, practical aspects and how to be ready for an audit besides Audit Scoring and criteria for Risk mitigation that comes out of Audit findings!

Please feel free to comment & inputs.I am thankful to some of info I have picked from books, (Ashbury, Ashwell) Web to substantiate auditing basics and concepts info from general domain.

In my global experience, (about 50 Audits as Auditor, Auditee across Globe) what are key aspects that work a successful audit. I would list the following items that stood out. These are sites spread across 4 continents so culture, people, power distance variance all covered.

  1. Leadership Engagement:– In almost all sites, where audit scores are  > 65% ( Considered Average) the hallmark of such result, is an effective Site Leader who clearly understands ESH values, sets objectives, targets and tracks them through effective delegation. He, visible on shop floor! Enjoys the support  / confidence of folks at the facility (As inferred in one on one, Skip level auditing). The ESH leader is well-connected with him/her and it appears like an outstanding “Rowing team at Sync”
  2. Ownership through Owner/Sponsor. Sites have identified owner/sponsor, which requires them to take responsibility for implementation of said program. The sponsor is a person with Senior Leadership position who champions the implementation, Maturity and leadership engagement. Standard Owner is a person who takes up operational responsibility to make sure that the requirements of the standard/procedure/program is fully met as well as strives for continuous improvement besides giving feedback as applicable. He is the interface during audit. (example Warehouse Manager is Owner for Forklift handling and safety). This way collective responsibility spreads across site through clear expectation, communication, feedback to keep status up to date and no SURPRISES and implementation is ensured in both width and depth.
  3. Facilities which have ace ESH audits, have an outstanding “RISK Assessment Register” covering depth of activities from Normal, Abnormal, Emergency activities. (Word Risk covers all operational aspect from ESH standpoint, like Aspect-Impact Register) In order to calibrate risk further, these facilities work, the 1)Probability, 2)Severity, 3)Frequency, 4)% Folks exposed to the operations as well as 5)Legal compliance status with action plan for the same. With such 5 dimensions, the lowest risk is 1*1*1*1*1=1 and Highest risk is 5*5*5*5*5=3125 so the spectrum is so  enormous to focus to spend the time, money, energy, to mitigate such high risks. Also visible would be collective participation in to risk register preparation from various area owners giving input, post a training/awareness sessions.
  4. In some facilities to compete for operational excellence awards “SAFETY” is one of criteria where audit scores have to be 80+% (Average is 65 %) to be in the race. With such stretch target, facilities work towards preparation, doing Self Assessment with improving their ratings over time( say doing assessments every 6 months) and closing out corrective actions. With such ease at correction, self-confidence, the documentation and record retrieval during audits is outstanding with almost 5-10% time saved due to ease of retrieval.
  5. Facilities with good audit scores have devised their own near miss reporting systems (5% of census/month a minimum to report) and work the investigations /root cause determination for each of them with “5WHY *6M (Man, Management, Method, Mileu, Material, Machine) and root cause identified is deployed horizontally across the facility through “Knowledge Sharing/communication”. In short they excel in Rapid Problem Solving! 
  6.  ESH is never standalone, it always piggy backs as a linkage to operational excellence through value creation, optimisation of resources, collective ownership, behaviours and culture. Also the facilities which ace the ESH audits have always beat the monthly metrics targets set comfortably. So an audit it appears is a mundane, routine, non sexy exercise. Another highlight aspect is facilities which ace ESH audits, across the world, invariably have immense regards / Good opinion, respect of community in the eyes of statutory authorities, neighbours, community at large. The pride of employees in such facilities is visible. As saying goes, Safety, Quality, Delivery, Inventory, Cost all are pillars! So all are held together! 
  7.  ESH audits site with scores above 65+%, ace Corrective Action closure. They stay on top of issues and close them out, on time on budget! Many entities reward sites for achieving this through credits in site Safety Performance Metrics. Also another important aspect  in such organisations  as a measure of ownership at the top, are that corrective actions which require more than 365 days to close, due to scale, depth of implementation, the facility is no longer responsible to close the issue from safety metrics performance stand point and wont be held against them.
  8. Facilities which top in ESH audits, have a very good linkage to Annual Operating Plans, Budgets, resources allocation, Census that drill down from Strategic plan. While budgets may be stretched due to economic conditions, business environment, downturn market, these facilities with great precise linkage to Risk Register are clear and focus on where to allocate the scant resources.
  9. Housekeeping in facilities across all aspects is of highest order. A place for everything and everything at its place.
  10. Continuity of Folks, career growth! Sites that ace ESH excellence in Audits (thus obviously interconnected operational excellence reaching Five Star or Gold Status) have gone on to reach higher levels in career ladder or moved to other area of operations and adapted with ease.  (Success Breeds Success) With telecommuting, work base continues to be same, in some cases, the facilities take advantage of their expertise for crucial aspects which they willingly support.

So bottom line is ESH Audits linked to Risk based auditing can deliver results. What is required is great preparation, participation, premptiveness, positive attitude, Presence (5Ps)  by all to work them.


15/3/17 1400 Hrs.


Author: Karthik B; Orion Transcenders. Bangalore.

Lives in Bangalore. HESS Professional of 30+ yrs experience. Global Exposure in 4 continents of over 22 years in implementation of Health, Environment, Safety, Sustainability. First batch of Environmental Engineers from 1985 Batch. Qualified for implementing Lean, 6Sigma, HR best practices integrating them in to HESS as value add to business.

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