Spring 2016 Proceedings
systematic conformance and nonconformance that can be
traced back to an overarching requirement.
This is important for audits and auditors, because it clearly
shows the requirement for a process to function as designed.
Audits don't rely on guesswork or possibilities; audits use
existing requirements to determine conformity.
More on Inspections
Inspections have been a longstanding tool within the Coast
Guard, handed down through generations of personnel
within prevention and other program elements. Inspec-
tions ensure that defciencies are discovered and proper
be that the system designed to maintain the equipment
is not functional.
More on Audits
Audits are not "pass/fail." They help to identify
nonconformities (weak nesses or areas of concern
within a working system) so that workers know to take
some sort of corrective action. Audits are designed to
be nonpunitive, identify where improvement is neces-
sary, and employ a predetermined process to execute
appropriate corrective action. In addition, once the cor-
rective action is taken, further steps are noted to prevent
nonconformities from recurring.
Audits should not be feared — by design, auditors use
an agreed-upon standard to measure effectiveness and
overall system compliance. While audits are conducted
on a periodic basis and are usually less frequent than
inspections, they are generally better at identifying
Subject matter experts review documents associated with Standards of Training,
Certifcation, and Watchkeeping requirements taught at a maritime academy.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Anthony Morris.
Audits identify systemic issues;
inspections determine if system
parts function as intended.
Audit result: The system designed
to maintain the equipment is func-
Inspection result: Equipment is
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