October, 2018
Thank You!
A big thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our annual Auditor Survey. The survey was sent to 697 individuals ranging from peer auditors, to H&S managers, to consultant auditors and we received almost 100 completed responses. Your feedback is invaluable to AMHSA and while we may not be able to implement or respond to every comment, all responses are considered when we review our COR program.

Have more feedback or questions? Call us at 1 (800) 267-9764.
What we Heard
The majority of responses were from municipal peer auditors (66%) who have been certified exclusively through AMHSA for more than 5 years. More than 2/3 of responses indicated that they plan to utilize the Excel audit tool. Of the 37% who plan to use the eCompliance tool, half identified themselves as consultant auditors.

Recommendations for the auditor training included online options, more course dates, and completing case studies in class. 71% supported the possibility of extending the 2-day Health and Safety Auditing course to 3-days if necessary but several comments touched on the amount of time required for training (when HSMS is also considered) and the usefulness of 3 days when it comes to experienced auditors.

The majority of responses indicated satisfaction with the audit timelines (96%), however there did seem to be some confusion around this question. “Audit processing” referred to the time allowed for AMHSA to conduct the initial quality assurance (QA) review but several responses commented on the amount of time the auditor is provided for report writing and revisions.

All responses indicated they were satisfied (22%), very satisfied (45%), or extremely satisfied (33%) with support offered by AMHSA auditing staff. Responses to communication questions were also positive, with respondents satisfied with the methods of communication. Suggestions for content included case studies, QA examples, justification examples, and frequently asked questions.

Other feedback included comments on the number of changes to the auditing program, standardization of QA comments/requirements, and appreciation for the level of communication being offered by AMHSA.
What we're Changing
Auditor Training

You told us that the Audit Refresher training could get repetitive, so we’ve updated the course to begin with an overview of any new changes and information. You also told us that you wanted more examples of justification notes, suggestions for improvement, QA comments, and exercises with real scenarios so we’ve added (and will continue to add) those too.

Auditor Communication

You told us that you appreciate the content and format of AMHSA’s communication with auditors but suggested some improvements. We will continue to post Audit Tips to our Facebook page and email Auditor Updates, but we’ll be doing so on a more regular schedule, with Audit Tips posted twice a week and the Update sent 4 times per year. We’ll also be adding some new content, with a focus on new tool questions, real examples, QA comments, and frequently asked questions. In 2019, we’ll also be looking at creating an interpretation guide and additional resources to support both auditors and program participants.

Click here to view past Auditor Updates or click here to subscribe.

Have examples, questions, or suggestions for auditor communications? Email Krystal at krystal@amhsa.net.

Audit Process

AMHSA follows internal timelines for quality assurance, with 14 days for COR Certification (external) processing and 42 days for COR Maintenance (internal), auditor qualification, and baseline audits. AMHSA’s timelines are comparable to other Certifying Partners in Alberta and QA time does not impact any auditor deadlines (such as report writing, or the time allowed for revisions), but your responses indicated that you’d like to receive your Maintenance results sooner. We’ve added additional contract QA Analysts to our team, and in 2019 we’ll be changing our standard for COR Maintenance to provide you with your QA review in 35 days.

AMHSA processes 110-175 audits each year and while we strive for a high level of accuracy and consistency, we do sometimes make mistakes. We’ve updated our internal processes to better track submitted audits and have arranged for all of our analysts to meet several times a year to review standards and guidelines.

Post-Audit Evaluation

We received several comments requesting a method for audited organizations to provide feedback on their experience with external auditors. In 2019 we’ll be looking at implementing an optional survey for post-external-audit evaluation. This will allow organizations to provide feedback on both their audit experience and on their peer or consultant auditors. Look for more information on this in 2019.
Program Changes
There is a struggle across the field regarding the continual changes to the audit tool/process…”
The number of changes to the Audit Tool (and subsequent re-training) over the past few years, have become a point of frustration…”
Stop changing the audit standard!”

One of the most common responses to the survey was to stop making so many changes and to allow our participating municipalities a chance to catch up. We hear you – since 2014 we’ve had new tools, new programs, new training, and multiple new standards and requirements. As a Certifying Partner, AMHSA acts as a go-between – we facilitate the COR program to municipalities on Partnership’s behalf and we advocate to Partnerships on behalf of the municipalities. AMHSA is required to follow the processes and standards that Partnerships implements and to do so according to their timelines. To the best of our knowledge, Partnerships has no current plans to make any major changes in 2019 that will directly affect our program participants.
Common Survey Questions
Can you make Refresher training online/shorter/less frequent?
Not at this time. AMHSA’s Audit Refresher training must meet the requirements set by Partnerships which mandates delivery, length, and content. We understand that travel and time away from work can be an issue for many and will continue to encourage Partnerships to allow for online training options.

I’m a consultant/certified with another CP can I skip AMHSA’s requirements?
AMHSA allows those with existing certifications to apply for equivalency for HSMS and to apply to attend Audit Refresher rather than the full Health and Safety Auditing course. Equivalency approval is at AMHSA’s discretion and not guaranteed. While all CPs must follow Partnership’s standards, there can be differences in interpretation, processing, and tools, as well as information unique to a particular industry.

I certified/recertified as an auditor in 2017. Do I need to retake training to use the 2018 Audit Workbook?
No, if you took your training in 2017, you do not need to retake training to use the 2018 standard. Visit our website to download a copy of the 2018 Audit Workbook or to view a copy of the updated Refresher training manual to assist you with any questions. If you are unsure of when your training was, or if you have additional questions about the tool, call us at 1 (800) 267-9764.

Where can I get more information on changes/why didn’t you tell me about these changes?
AMHSA emails regular updates to Auditor Update subscribers , includes information in quarterly newsletters , updates our website , and posts frequently to our Facebook page. If you are subscribed but have not received any information please check your spam folder, add us to your safe senders list, or contact Krystal ( krystal@amhsa.net ).

Please note: We do not automatically add auditors to our auditor communications. Due to privacy and spam laws, you must opt-in to receive our newsletters. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter or like our Facebook page to ensure you receive regular updates.

Health and Safety Management Systems
  • February 26-27, 2019 (Sherwood Park)
  • March 12-13, 2019 (Calgary)

Health and Safety Auditing
  • February 28-March 1, 2019 (Sherwood Park)
  • March 14-15, 2019 (Calgary)

Audit Refresher
  • January 29, 2019 (Sherwood Park)
  • February 5, 2019 (Calgary)

Note: If you have attended Audit Refresher within the last 1.5 years in order to learn the 2016 Partnerships Standard, you are not required to re-attend training in order to use the 2018 Standard. If you have questions about your auditor status or available tools, please contact us.