Internal Auditing – Improving Human Performance

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 24, 2018
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • PDHs:

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The primary purpose of an organization's internal auditing program is to assess compliance with their internal requirements and applicable regulations. A mature and robust process safety program has well defined policies, standards and procedures; successful application of these is human dependent.

Other considerations beyond compliance must be taken into account as the foundation for continuous improvement. Seeking feedback and suggestions from employees being audited enhances the safety culture by means of involvement. Their experience is important to understand if standards and procedures are written for the end user (are they practical?). Developing a rapport with employees being audited is necessary to reveal underlying causes of deficiencies. The company will be better positioned to continuously improve the level of safety awareness and performance by implementing a balanced approach when conducting audits.

Post audit evaluation of results is another key component. One must consider if the finding is limited to a particular facility, group or activity or if it is present in other parts of the organization. Identifying systemic gaps within the company provides a proactive means to look deeper, understand why and take the appropriate actions to eliminate the gap. Capturing and sharing best practices with other organizational units adds benefit. Recognizing an effort implemented by the facility or an individual is positive reinforcement, the pleasant side of an audit.

This paper analyzes traditional auditing programs that focus on compliance and how to achieve a holistic approach to reduce risk in process safety by means of enhancing human performance. It explores other human factors and audit techniques to identify improvement opportunities and implementation strategy. It describes the internal auditing program implemented by one of Praxair’s business units to measure compliance and identify actionable improvement opportunities to reduce risks in both process safety and quality.

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