By Steve Guglielmo
2019 will be the final year of the ADCI Audit Initiative. By March 1, 2020, every ADCI Member will need to have submitted to an audit. The 36-month initiative kicked off on March 1, 2017. The purpose of the initiative is for ADCI member companies and schools to formally demonstrate adherence to the International Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations.
“I think that increasingly companies are realizing they benefits they’ve received from undergoing the audit process,” says Jon Hazelbaker, ADCI designated 3rd party auditor. “Those benefits are really three-fold. Number one it helps people achieve their commitment that they make as an ADCI member to be compliant with the standards. It educates them on exactly what that means to be compliant and shows them how to be compliant and helps them achieve that compliance. Number two, it reduces their overall legal liability if they ever would have an incident. And three, and most importantly, it gives them the peace of mind and sets them up in such a way that they have more assurance of getting their dive crew home safely at the end of each work day.”
The audit is an educational process, not a punitive one. However, it is also a mandatory process. Each member will have had to undergo or be in the process of undergoing an audit before March 1, 2020, or their membership within the association will be terminated.
“The audit was something that was approved by the board. It’s something that end-users, clients and regulators are excited about and that they expect us to follow through with. And it will probably lead us into a program where we have more audits for both general members and schools,” says ADCI Executive Director Phil Newsum.
With just one year remaining in the Audit Initiative, the process for beginning an audit has changed. From this point forward, all new applicants and schools needing to undergo an audit will pay a portion of the fee up front.
“One of the things we have learned is that the current manner and order in which we were conducting the audits wasn’t working and was creating a bit of a log jam,” says Newsum. “Largely that was due to the procrastination of providing submittals. So effective now, companies will have to pay a deposit $1,000 towards the overall audit fee up front and will have 60 days to complete the administrative portion of the audit. All submittals have to be turned in and any remediations have to be completed within that 60 day time period. That clock starts ticking from the time that the designated auditor and the company make contact and the auditor requests those submittals.”
Says Hazelbaker, “For an educated client, being able to say that you’ve gone through the audit process is extremely important. The users of dive services are becoming more and more educated on both the ADCI and the fact that we do have this audit process. I think the fact that they demand that their people become an ADCI member, which I see all the time, as well as that they have gone through this process, is beneficial. If I was an owner, I would want to see that certificate.”