Skip to content

    What is an EHS Audit? | Evotix

    28 July 2022 - Evotix

       

    An EHS audit is an assessment of an organization’s health and safety policies, processes and systems to ensure that they are meeting regulatory standards.  

    EHS departments are established to ensure that an organization behaves in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. The EHS department prepares the workplace and staff for EHS audits, ensuring that the management system performs at a high standard.   

    An audit surveys the workplace to determine: 

    • What regulations apply to that specific facility 
    • Whether employees are adhering to health and safety standards 
    • The quality and impact of safety training  
    • The processes, systems and technologies in place to push compliance

    Before a team prepares for an audit, the EHS department must understand the scope and focus area of the audit. Once this is established, your EHS department should begin to compile relevant documents, checklists and previous reports in order to assist with the assessment.     

    Audits can be carried out either externally or internally. An audit can be conducted by a properly accredited in-house health and safety team member, or it can be carried out by an outside party, such as an independent consultant. 

    Why are EHS Audits Important? 

    While it’s essential to establish a health and safety program at your workplace, the work doesn’t stop there. Health and safety professionals need to be constantly reviewing their programs to ensure its performance aligns with the shifting priorities of the organization and its legal obligations. 

    An EHS audit can be either voluntary or required. A voluntary audit can be used to evaluate how well the health and safety program is working within an organization and to implement improvements. Mandatory audits can be requested as part of a settlement between an organization and a government agency. In both scenarios, the objectives are the same – to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees and to ensure the organization is meeting requirements where applicable.  

    Audits sometimes reveal prior undetected problems, which can massively improve workplace safety and reduce liability. They can also present areas for improvement that result in the whole facility being run in a more efficient and cost-effective way. Likewise, they can benefit reputation, boost employee morale and reduce the risk of accidents and injury. 

    Benefits of EHS Audits:

    • Improved staff awareness of safety regulations  
    • Identification and subsequent rectification of non-compliant issues  
    • Projection of positive company image to external parties  
    • Demonstration to staff of company responsibility 
    • Opportunity to lower policy premiums by providing insurers with evidence of EHS excellence 

    How to Prepare for an EHS Audit? 

    Before preparing for an EHS audit, you first need to understand the exact regulations that apply to your workplace - bearing in mind that such requirements change frequently. 

    If you opt for an external audit, you can prepare by: 

    1. Determine audit scope and focus: Your audit team should be clear on what exactly the audit will assess in relation to your organization. This provides clarity to your team as well as the auditor. With a proper understanding of scope, you can better prepare for the audit and improve communication among your organization.

    2. Determine which specific regulations your company must comply with: Ensure your organization prepares for the correct regulations. Research and reference current laws and regulations to ensure compliance before an audit.  

    3. Gathering all the necessary documentation: Providing documentation proves to auditors that your EHS department is well organized and on top of EHS protocols. Documents may include hazardous waste tracking information, environmental permits, employee training records and certifications and records of incidents. Providing documentation can be made far simpler with Evotix’s EHS Compliance Software. By storing all documents in one place, they can be accessed quickly, from any device, reducing the need for lengthy admin work.

    4. Understanding the key audit elements, the auditors will need to discuss, such as pollution, chemical waste, past accidents or spills: 

      If a recent incident occurred that auditors may bring up, ensure that you're able to speak knowledgeably about the procedures, equipment and technology put in place as a result. Prepare to discuss certain elements at length in advance. To help with this, Evotix recommends EHS Reporting & Management Software. This software tool enables you to: 

      • Visualize and share data  
      • Spot trends  
      • Track actions to completion 
      • Report with ease 
      • Capture all information, photos and videos included. 

      With this platform, reports on previous incidents can be easily traced and subsequent actions and results tracked. Ensure you are prepared and aware of all issues within your organization. 

    5. Ensure your team is aware of the audit: By communicating to your organization that an audit is scheduled, your EHS department can be better prepared, making it easier to collect and request relevant documents and materials. Notifying your team ahead of time of the event, minimizes disruption by allowing employees to adjust their schedules and workloads accordingly.  

    How Often Should EHS Audits Be Performed?  

    Since there’s no international standard in place regarding the frequency of audits, how often they’re performed largely depends on both the specific company and industry. For example, manufacturing industries will need to audit more frequently than office-based organizations, due to the increased level of risk. 

    Evotix’s Manufacturing Health and Safety Software provides an easy-to-use, comprehensive EHS platform built specifically for the manufacturing industry. Our solution helps EHS professionals manage compliance across all manufacturing sites in one system. 

    While there’s no set schedule for audits, performing audits too infrequently can have detrimental consequences for your organization. Staff may get complacent between audits and forgo guidelines. Balancing intermittent formal audits with routine checks and inspections may be the best option for most organizations.  

    What Should You Do With The Results of Your EHS Audit? 

    Once an audit has been carried out, it’s important to review your findings. Findings typically resemble a comprehensive audit report, as well as general findings. Scrutinizing this data should enable you to identify problem areas within your organization and you should create a plan to tackle them. This plan should identify deficiencies, prioritizing them in terms of urgency.  

    With Evotix EHS Safety Audit Software, you can access quick overviews of your audits, facilitating the completion of important compliance actions. Make follow-ups easy and get the most out of your audits by viewing automated reports, instead of manually analyzing results. Evotix software helps your company adapt for all requirements and implement best practice, without the need to rely on lengthy paper forms.  

    EHS Audit Checklists:  

    Utilizing a checklist for your audits can simplify the process. Checklists help notify your personnel of the corrective actions required to fix potential problems. With a checklist in place, personnel are also less likely to forgo important tasks, keeping them focused, organized and accountable. 

    Audits are often complicated organizationally but having a checklist in place helps streamline the process.  

    It should be noted that no checklist should be considered all-inclusive, as there may be some unique issues that were not previously identified. While a checklist is crucial, it is essential to consider elements beyond the checklist.  

    How Can Evotix Help? 

    Evotix’s EHS Safety Audit Software is specifically designed to relieve organizations of lengthy paper forms, providing an alternative to paper-based reporting and recording. Our software system offers: 

    • Audits and inspections on the go 
    • Documents and images digitally accessible  
    • Inspection data available in dashboards 
    • Automated reports 

    With our audit solution, we believe we can provide your organization with the most comprehensive audit experience. Not only will you be able to conduct audits more efficiently, but trends and patterns will be easier to spot – leading to quicker, more responsive actions. 

    Audit software can benefit your EHS personnel as well as the health and safety of your entire organization by making continuous improvement far easier to implement. 

    Conclusion: 

    EHS audits are invaluable for collecting data, determining your organization’s health and safety standing, and ensuring your organization remains healthy and safe in the future. But EHS audits can also be challenging, requiring ample preparation, document collection and subsequent corrective planning. Software solutions, like those offered by Evotix, can streamline these processes and transform your audit experience for the better. 

       

    RELATED BLOGS

    Blog Header-1

    All for the best: using innovative technology to support behavioural safety

    11 October 2018 - Evotix

    Our latest white paper, Best behaviour: how technology can enhance behavioural safety in the workplace, examines why behavioural safety programmes  fail - and how technology can help maximise their..

    Blog, Whitepaper
    Read Article
    whitepaper-header_Behavior

    Top ways how technology can enhance behavioral safety

    28 November 2018 - Evotix

    How can organizations embed a culture where acting safely is part of the day-to-day activity?

    Whitepaper
    Read Article

    Avoid the health and safety blackhole and get visible by ditching your spreadsheets

    18 December 2020 - Evotix

    How challenging is it to ensure the visibility of health and safety performance and compliance across your organisation? What role do spreadsheets play in your health and safety programs? If it seems..

    Blog, Engagement, Digital Transformation
    Read Article