Home Resources Blog June 2015

60 Seconds with Stephen Burt

11 June 2015
Stephen Burt shares his suggestion for avoiding a common non-conformance against ISO standard requirements together with his experience of working with missiles, torpedos and submarines too.


Stephen Burt

Audits against

ISO9001:2008, National Highway Sector Scheme 19a (QMS); ISO14001:2004, BS8555 (EMS); ISO50001:2011 (EnMS); OHSAS18001:2007 (OHSAS); BS8900:2006 (Sustainable Development)

most memorable auditing moment

In this job there are non-stop memorable moments due to the immense variety of the work. NQA has a wide range of interesting clients. For example, last week I was auditing a biscuit factory for the first half of the week (Nairn’s oatcakes) followed by MOD activities involving missile, torpedo and ammunition preparation. My most memorable moments are usually when I’m auditing areas which most people wouldn’t normally get to see. I’ve been on the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and inside submarines. I also go offshore to the oil and gas platforms which always keeps things interesting during bumpy helicopter rides!

Most common non-conformance

I’m always amazed at how often this one occurs. The requirement to evaluate legal (and other) compliance in ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 systems can often lead to non-conformances and some constructive debate during audits. The main suggestion I would make to avoid this would be to take your legal register, identify the records or activities you need to check to evidence compliance against each requirement, and use that as the basis for the evaluation of compliance. Many companies have real difficulties in interpreting this requirement, and often your NQA Assessor can gently point you in the right direction.

Greatest client benefit gained from ISO certification

The best systems will always result in the same benefits: reduced costs, improved competitive advantage, and reduced risks. A well designed and implemented system should achieve these with ease – leading to benefits for all.

Top tip for getting the most from your management system

Keep it as simple as you can bearing in mind your organisation’s needs! The ISO standards can be daunting to read and interpret, but remember that they are written to apply as equally to making biscuits as they are to building missiles. If your control requirements are fairly simple, keep the system fairly simple. That way you can avoid being too prescriptive and giving the auditor too many checks to make.