Auditing and the Kokoda Trail | Part 1

By: Auditor Training Online | Posted 07 Jun 2017

Author: Jackie Stapleton

How auditing is preparing me for the Kokoda Trail
Part #1

Well, the countdown has started.  It’s 3 months from today that I will be leaving with 2 of my greatest friends to trek Kokoda.  The ‘real’ Kokoda in Papua New Guinea (PNG) that is.

Nine days, eight nights and 96km (~60miles) of walking in temperatures ranging from 24-35+ degrees Celsius and an average September humidity from 67% to 75% rising over the course of the month.  Yep, I’ve actually had someone say ‘it’s just a walk isn’t it’? 

I’ve decided to start writing our journey of preparation for Kokoda and nerdy as it is for an auditor, try to align significant points to any areas of a management system. 

Management system requirements are all around us, not just in business.  We apply them at home, we experience them as customers or spectators.  So, let’s see where this journey takes us in the world of auditing, quality, safety or environmental management systems?

We are very fortunate that our very own Customer Service & Marketing Manager, Kelly Taylor has already conquered Kokoda, so she’s able to share her experiences with us.  

Kelly Taylor Kokoda Trail November 2010

Instantly I think of Clause 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge in ISO 9001:2015.  Yes, it’s more about achieving conformity of products and services, however, it does mention that Organization Knowledge can be based on Internal sources which include knowledge gained from experience, lessons learned from failures and successful projects, capturing and sharing undocumented knowledge and experience.

By recognising that we have this resource available to us, Kelly has been able to share her experiences with us to make our experience hopefully a more enjoyable one!

The first practical lesson Kelly taught us is how to strap our feet to prevent blisters. Oh, there’s that word – prevent. It seems quite familiar in management systems world, doesn’t it?  Particularly seeing it’s preventing an injury?  So, this is what I’ve found in ISO/DIS 45001.2 – yes, I’m going to use the Draft ISO 45001 Standard as we’re forward thinking here at Auditor Training Online.  I found the following:

Clause Hazard Identification

The organisation shall establish, implement and maintain a process for hazard identification this is on-going and proactive.  The process shall take into account but not be limited to:

  1. Past relevant incidents, internal or external to the organization, including emergencies, and their causes
  • This is perfect!  We have identified through past incidents that yes, blisters are certainly a risk as a result of shoes, socks, hiking, wet feet and more!

So, then I moved on to Clause 8.1.2 Eliminating hazards and reducing OH&S risks which states:

The organization shall establish, implement and maintain a process for the elimination of hazards and reduction of OH&S risks using the following hierarchy of control:

  1. Eliminate the hazard
  2. Substitute with less hazardous materials, processes, operations or equipment
  3. Use engineering controls and/or reorganization of work
  4. Use of administrative controls, including training
  5. Use of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)

Foot StrappingTaped feet - post trainingstrapping on the track

So, looking at our feet and the amount of tape we have used, I would say that we have applied the PPE control as well as the administrative control with the training received from Kelly.  The higher-level hierarchy was not able to be applied in this scenario – unless there’s someone out there with another idea of course?

This is the first step in our journey, so stay tuned for more updates and some great photos, while also learning about our Management System Standards.


If you or anyone else you know are interested in completing the Kokoda Trail why not check out Kokoda Spirit - They got Kelly home safely, and we know they'll get Jackie home safely too!

This is not a paid/sponsored advert for Kokoda Spirit, nor did they approach Auditor Training Online for mention within this article. We simply would like to acknowledge them for their professional service and support. All images used in this article are original and copyright owned by Kelly Taylor.