Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, which you can see in full here.
Triple certification as an auditor or a consultant is the topic of discussion for today. Why would we do it? Why wouldn’t we just work with one standard?
If anyone knows me, I'm a quality lover, so I love ISO 9001! It still is my favourite standard. When I first started out, that’s what I was - a quality manager. I worked for a company as an internal auditor, managing an internal system and it was just quality – a single scope and system.
Over the years, we added OH&S and Environment as well, so I was exposed to the other standards as well. Still, when I started to contract and consult for myself over 10 years ago, I just thought that I would just go ISO 9001 Quality, as it still was my favourite!
It wasn't long though until I realized that it might actually be beneficial for me to add on OH&S and Environment because it was limiting my advancement and where I wanted to head.
There was work out there, but it was for triple-certification, so Quality, Environment and OH&S, and because I just had Quality, I wasn't always the first pick for the job.
It didn't mean I didn't get work, it just meant that when they were assigning work to auditors, I could just do quality and they'd have to get a second, even a third auditor to do the other standards.
So I decided then that I would add on OH&S and Environment to my scope so when there was scheduling for audits, I would then be assigned or could be assigned the work for the triple-certification organizations.
Exposure to a Broader Range of Businesses
Another benefit is that you visit a much broader range of businesses. Businesses that are triple certified and have Integrated Management systems in place.
If we're looking at IMS systems, integrated management systems, the really cool thing about that is seeing how well (or not) an organization has implemented an IMS.
There are so many common elements across these ISO standards, particularly now with the new structure, they all follow the same core structure.
It's so interesting to see the integration aspect. If it's there or if it's not and to what degree.
Promote Yourself as a Triple-certified Professional
You can promote yourself as a triple-certified auditor or consultant – or both!
Actually, something that does pop up a bit as a question from our students when they move up this path is the uncertainty behind their experience across all three Standards.
I always think of one student I met many years ago, who is out there at the moment and is a triple-certified auditor. He was an engineer who worked a lot in the mines. He came to me and said ‘but all of my roles have always been about quality – never anything to do with OH&S or Environment’. It was always about quality in his tiles.
I said ‘Hold on a second, you worked in the mines, you were away for months at a time, all over the world. Surely you were exposed to environmental and OH&S requirements too. You would have been exposed to risk assessments as part of a team.
If you're out in the field, you're identifying the different environmental aspects that would impact based on your activities, even though your title didn't include environment or OH&S. You have experience in both of those fields’.
So that's what you need to sit down and think about. Ask yourself these questions:
- What was I exposed to in my role with regards to OH&S and Environment?
- How does that translate into my experience as a triple-certified auditor?
Pull those aspects out of your past experience. It doesn't matter what your title was. If you've been exposed to this stuff, you have experience. And you know what, sometimes that experience is really, like, I always say gravel under boot, so the ‘doing’ stuff.
I think that's really important as a professional to take a step back and really look at what you've been exposed to. That's a really good step to take.
If you're moving into the triple-certified world, you do need to complete the recognized training of course.
Jackie is a Founding Director of Auditor Training Online. She loves to help others and share her excitement about auditing, consulting and management systems bringing to you her own experience and stories as a certification auditor.