HCRQ performs safety audits on products and processes.
There are three reasons why HCRQ is contacted for this type of effort:
Unfortunately, the latter is more frequent than the other two.
These tend to be very focused and thorough. Particular safety-related documents are targeted and, based on its experience, HCRQ has a list of vulnerabilities that it uses to drive these audits.
PROBLEMS PERFORMING SAFETY AUDITS?
The problem with safety audits is defining what they imply and what level of assurance is truly provided by them.
The outcome of a safety audit is extremely dependent on the skills, knowledge, and experience of the auditor. It does not help that there is no certification of system safety engineers - virtually anyone can call themselves a safety engineer.
Sometimes, audits have been intentionally contracted out to firms that the customer knows will use a lower level of scrutiny, only to be able to state that they were successfully audited by an external auditor.