Top Tips on Surviving Certification Audits

Whether you’re experienced or it’s your first time, Certification audits can be a nerve wracking experience. I have helped many clients achieve and retain certification to ISO 14001. Here are some top tips for surviving the audit.


Know your objectives – do you want to get through with as little hassle as possible or do you want the auditor to see it all & find areas for improvement?


Prepare well beforehand. Plan the agenda (including timings) and brief your colleagues about what is likely to be covered. Thus may be their first time being scrutinised – you don’t want them to appear ‘bunny in headlights’!


Get all your documentation together – you might want to have hyperlinks to their locations, saves you trawling through loads of folders.


Make sure you’ve addressed all the Non Conformities raised at the last audit.


Have you conducted the annual Management Review and did it properly involve top management?


Things auditors often look into:

  • Duty of Care documentation – it’s easy to find gaps in Waste Transfer Notes etc.
  • Aspects & Impacts and Compliance Registers – make sure they are up to date & any changes properly communicated to key people.
  • The changes in the new ISO 14001:2015 standard – make sure you address them all.


Lastly treat the auditor well. A good meeting space with room to work, and tea & biccies are a must. One auditor I met said he’d once been left on the kitchen counter & was in the way of everyone getting their lunch (lots of tutting!).


Keep in mind these tips and you, too, should survive your audit.


Can I help you prepare for your certification? Call me.



For more info on the process of certification, see my factsheet here.





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