You can prepare for a Safety program audit to the best of your abilities, have every required policy and documentation known to man, but then perform miserably on your staff interview questions.
There are many reasons an employee may not fair well with your auditor/audit interview:
- Fear of not knowing the right answer or saying the wrong thing
- Lack of approach-ability or humanistic component between the interviewee and the auditor
- The way the question is asked by the auditor (Do they provide examples or clarify using alternative terms?)
These things can all influence how your staff score in an audit interview and affects the company's overall score. We've provided a few tips below to help you get the best results from your staff interviews.
- There's nothing wrong with reviewing potential audit questions and Health and Safety Program content with your staff to ensure they are familiar with your safety program content. While a list of questions may not be available, general knowledge of the safety program may be reviewed.
Some of the more common questions asked by the auditor may include:
Do you know what your company Health & Safety policy states?
What are your Health & Safety responsibilities?
How does Management communicate their commitment to Health & Safety?
Keep in mind that your staff don't need to regurgitate the Policy information to the interviewer. Staff should generally understand your program content and be able to summarize or offer key words to demonstrate knowledge of this content.
- Encourage your Interviewees to ask the interviewer/auditor to explain/re-word the question or provide examples if they don't fully understand the question.
In safety there are so many interchangeable terms and acronyms that it can be confusing and overwhelming to personnel outside of safety. Asking the interviewer to provide explanation or real-world examples can certainly help your personnel to feel more confident and comfortable in responding to your HSE Program related questions.
- Choose an auditor you like!
This is a big one. Although your audit may be measured against some sort of recognized standard or certain criteria - Auditors are people too!
It is important to choose an auditor who can evaluate your program without bias in order to provide necessary corrective actions or recommendations. But it is also important to choose an auditor who makes you and your staff feel comfortable and who doesn't appear intimidating in order to generate the best audit score based on employee interviews.
Remember, it's always a good idea to prepare for the worst in order to develop the best. Auditors are not your enemy, they simply evaluate your program!