The stigma behind the word “audit” needs to change. Often the idea of an audit is daunting due to the looming concerns of what might be found. In other cases, audits are seen as a waste of money and resources to conduct. However, conducting an audit is one of the most proactive and strategic actions an organization can take. Specifically, within the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) umbrella, an audit can confirm and strengthen compliance, as well as identify risks and opportunities for process improvement.
An EHS audit should be in every EHS responsible individuals “tool box”. Audits should be entered with a mindset that the findings will be impactful to your organization, providing opportunity to better your workplace for employees, solidify programs and processes, and provide valuable insight to your organizations environmental impact.
When developing an audit program within your organization these key elements can ensure that your audit will be a success and provide your organization with the most valuable results.
Have the right involvement
Get leaders involved in the audit process. When executives support the audit program their involvement will demonstrate the importance of EHS to the organization, but also help drive change and support allocated resources. Use the opportunity to educate senior leaders the value of EHS and to highlight the effectiveness of processes or programs in place.
Define a clear scope
Planning is a key to a successful audit program. With a long list of EHS requirements, it’s easy for the scope of an audit to expand too wide. Consider keeping the scope within key elements to allow the auditors to maintain focus and really explore beyond the surface. If the scope of an audit is too broad, the audit team may not have time available to get deeper into processes and uncover risks. When identifying the scope, consider the areas that have the greatest risk, as well as the areas that provide the greatest opportunities to elevate your organizations EHS strategy.
Consider conducting more frequent and focused audits versus longer audits that try to cover each and every EHS element. This will provide value in not only looking for risk and opportunities on a regular basis, but it will instill a sense of importance and prompt preparedness.
Once the audit is completed and report has been compiled, follow through with recommendations and corrective actions. Find a tool that clearly records and tracks actions and reports progress. Following up on audit findings is critical to truly make an audit valuable to the organization. Maintaining ownership of actions and holding all parties responsible to implement recommendations will ensure improvements are made. Remember that the audit was conducted with the purpose of finding opportunities to better the organization, so push through the final stages of implementing change to create the most impact.
For more information
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At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of “Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper”. We align EHS with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success. Our unique approach combines our extensive EHS experience with innovative tools, such as our EHS Dashboard™, to effectively address your challenges. Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EHS and overall business performance for our clients. We are certified WBENC, WBE.