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What are SEMS Auditors Interested in Seeing During a SEMS Audit

Posted by: Sarah Hamilton | February 13, 2014

Home/ Blog / What are SEMS Auditors Interested in Seeing During a SEMS Audit

The Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) program was developed for organizations to meet two core objectives i) Accident & Incident Prevention and ii) Prevention of the release of  hazardous substance in the environment. Building safety management system is a process to meet the above two objectives.

When SEMS Auditors come to audit the facility, they are not only interested in making sure to evaluate the efficiency of the SEMS program, but they are also interested in seeing the following during a SEMS Audit:

  • SEMS Program – The SEMS program should be implemented for each of the facility. For the program alone, there are many requirements needed and the auditors evaluate the quality of a SEMS Compliance plan. We all know how complicated the regulations have become and how they change constantly. Its rapid change causes ambiguity on which regulations apply, how it impacts internal audit, behavioral risk, operational risk, evidence, policies and procedures. Understanding the components of SEMS and other regulations is key to your SEMS success. The smaller the organization the less the risk and it is easy to create Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) program and the larger the organization, the more complex it gets and hence, it increases the risk. A  risk-based approach through the use of software tools will help develop the program for compliance and to plan accordingly for large and complex organizations.
  • Management Commitment and Accountability – Designate individuals by assigning human resources to specific functions. The management should provide resources to policies and procedures according to the elements of SEMS through software tools to streamline regulatory workflow automation. Automating processes promotes transparency and accountability as it improves management and executive visibility to areas of risk related to insufficient policies and potential compliance gaps.
  • Implement training programs – See what training you would be required to provide to assist you on the way to competency excellence. Not only will this benefit your audit results but your bottom line as well. The criteria for your training must be in your SEMS program. You must laid out the required training requirements which are the regulatory training requirements and your required training components which involve operating procedures, safe work practices, emergency response and control measures. Define your periodic training plan. And leverage on employing learning management software to help scale, implement your training plan and also track it.
  • Safety and Environmental Information / Hazard Analysis management system design – The basis for your management system design is the safety and environmental information that you utilize. Provide a roadmap to risk based approach to Hazard Analysis. A risk assessment software application will help you align risk and compliance with SEMS, PSM, OSHA and EPA requirements. Risk should be embedded in all your SEMS, PSM, OSHA, EPA process.
  • Management of Change – The management of change process should be easy to understand. The process starts with recognizing the need for change as it’s also important as to implementing not only the day to day changes. In order to be successful in executing your SEMS program, you need to utilize the right personnel with expertise for the assessment of your entire program. Your management of change process can be automated where your risk registers are connected to the regulations; an audit tied to action and MOC and you will be able to manage cases for hazard analysis
  • Operating Procedures and Safe Work Practices – Operating procedures should be in place. It is imperative that your operating procedures and safety work practices should be streamlined. Automate your policy and procedure management to achieve the following benefits:
    • automated policy life cycle
    • consistent style of writing
    • document control and BSEE audit
    • communication and accessibility
    • periodic training plan.
  • Mechanical Integrity – Your mechanical integrity program must have written procedures that provide instructions to ensure the mechanical integrity and safe operation of critical equipment through inspection, testing, and quality assurance. Your inspection criteria requirements must be according to BSEE regulations and meet the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the organization is large with multiple facilities and sites, that increase risk and complexity. To be able to prevent accidents / incidents, some sort of asset integrity management software would be highly recommended to react quickly.
  • Pre-Startup Review – Your SEMS program must require that the commissioning process includes a pre-startup safety and environmental review. Mechanical integrity automation through software tools will help streamline the workflow process.
  • Emergency Response and Control – Outline what is required of your emergency action plan, what is an adequate emergency control center, and the single missing component from your emergency drills that will get you in trouble. Use software tools to help you scale and automate your SEMS compliance and streamline your corrective and preventive actions.

Let’s bear in mind that an organized plan of action calls for efficiency, productivity and quality. You will need a platform that offers an audit module which provides continuous compliance and improves effectiveness of those programs designed to protect the environment and the safety of your employees. Predict360 regulatory compliance software is a cloud based software solution that will allow you to bundle your evidences swiftly and provide it to the regulators easily. However, make sure that the cost of software is around 1/10th of the medium size hazard or less than the cost of one head count over three years. These days, with cloud based software solutions, the cost of software has dropped drastically making it a no brainer ROI decision.

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