Airlogger, Audits can be interesting events as different auditors look for different things which is actually a good and a bad thing. Good because different issues are covered by different auditors and bad because sometimes changes can be contradictory as different audits are conducted. Oil companies are usually the most thorough although sometimes to a point of silliness...some not only look at aviation, they also get into occupational health and safety issues within your workplace so be prepared for that. These may include checking signage, waterwash facilities, lifting practices etc.
Compliance Auditing...in compliance auditing, the auditor will check that the company operates in accordance with regulations, orders, directives and agreements. This will include checking pilot records, maintenance records (including compliance with ADs) and observing operations and maintenance practices. Records are usually pulled randomly. Interestingly, I've done audits where the company complied with the regs but I stilled expressed concerns about the use of certain helicopters from one country that didn't have the same standards of certification or record keeping as another...this usually arises in the use of Eastern bloc produced aircraft that haven't been through an equivalent certification process as a Western bloc aircraft. This not to say there was a problem, it was just that the paperwork and testing wasn't conducted to the same standard or the paperwork was lacking. This is more safety auditing....
Safety Auditing involves checking the company's systems...is there an active safety management program? Is the rhetoric backed up by action? Senior management commitment to safety? Reporting systems? Followup on accident, incident and hazard reports? Active CRM programs? Active Risk Management programs? Not only should there be paperwork to back up the programs but the auditor should interview and chat with staff and maangement to see if there any deficiencies. Recommendations here may be based on best-practice or oil company requirements rather than any regulatory requirement. I personally have been amazed at some large US helicopter operators being totally devoid of modern safety systems and the only reason that things have gone well was because of the individuals involved and their personal attitudes. So in that case, the auditor may say that the systems are shite but the individuals are good so if anyone changes, then the company needs re-auditing....some will do that, some won't.
Some oil companies may even audit the financial health...never been involved in one of those and way beyond my knowledge!
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