Environmental Audits – Not to be Dreaded

May 13, 2016

Over the last 10 years, I have been involved in many environmental audits. From review and certification of Environmental Management Systems to compliance with licence requirements, and client specifications.

The reaction to an upcoming audit is always quite different. Although for most managers there is a lingering dread.

Environmental audits should not be dreaded!

There are many benefits of undertaking and participating in environment audits. This includes identifying and preventing risks, determining which processes are working well, and looking for opportunities for improvement.

These are my five tips for getting the most out of your environmental audit:

  1. Understand what is being audited. It is your licence or approval requirements? Or a particular aspect of your environmental management system or operations? If you are unclear, then clarify with the auditor so that you can be prepared for the audit.
  2. Know the audit schedule. Otherwise ask the auditor for the schedule so again you can be prepared.
  3. Make sure worksites are clean and tidy. As an auditor walking into a tidy and well maintained work area, you are instantly impressed and this starts the audit off on the right foot.
  4. Be cooperative. An environmental auditor is there to help you. They are a fresh pair of eyes to notice something that you have overlooked and provide suggestions to improve processes. Use this to your advantage by assisting to determine suitable solutions to improve your operations.
  5. Close out any non-conformances or improvements as soon as possible. This will provide the greatest benefit to your operations as well as preventing lingering items on your To Do list.