Published 22 Jul 2022
What is an EHS Audit?
An Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) audit is a document to help inspectors and managers in evaluating a specific environment to ensure it is compliant with EHS laws and is safe for work. An EHS audit often comes in a checklist form for easier inspections and can be modified to fit specific industry needs.
This EHS audit checklist can be used as a main or supplementary checklist for general EHS audits. With this template, inspectors and managers can:
- Specifically check general facilities and health and safety policies in place
- Extensively evaluate working environments from their physical appearances to the hazards they may house, and their piping
- Strictly enforce compliance with EHS laws
This article briefly discusses:
- the importance of having an EHS audit;
- the benefits of having one;
- the elements of an EHS audit; and
- the role of iAuditor in making one.
An EHS audit is essential in ensuring and maintaining safety in the workplace. In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically require this as part of their regulations on promoting a safe workplace for all. A company with a high EHS audit score also shows the government that they prioritize safety and are taking the initiative to do so.
Additionally, having an EHS audit is also helpful outside of the US. With an EHS audit, a company or organization can help keep their workers out of danger and avoid legal risks or repercussions by making sure they:
- wear the appropriate protective gear;
- know the proper emergency procedures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); and
- report any issues they might encounter on the job that endangers one’s health and safety.
The main benefit of having an EHS audit is ensuring and improving health and safety protocols in the workplace. There are also other benefits from running an EHS audit such as:
- Making work more cost-efficient, as having a safe working environment reduces the risk of injuries, highlights different work opportunities that may have not been possible before, and uncovers issues that can be improved upon to increase revenue or lower expenditures, such as using paper documents rather than digital ones.
- Improving communication and the dissemination of information, as an EHS audit also lists the safety protocols to be followed, and everyone must be aware of it.
- Making it easier to be ISO 14001-certified, as one of the requirements for this standard is for a business to show their initiatives in maintaining, assessing, and improving their environmental impact.
When conducting an EHS audit, it is important to have a checklist. This will make it easier for inspectors and managers to keep track of all regulations to comply with, along with the tasks, risks, and hazards their employees face.
Having an EHS audit checklist can also make it possible for employees to conduct their own inspections, empowering them to report issues and address them as needed.
A typical EHS audit checklist will have:
- Details on emergency exits and alarms, such as fire alarms
- Contingency plans for different emergencies and hazards
- A guide on the proper health standards to follow specific to the work environment
- Legal rules and regulations that need compliance, where applicable
- An evaluation of waste and water management processes
- Assessment of electrical wiring, plumbings, equipment, and possible hazards that can be encountered on the job
A templated EHS audit checklist will also help. Using a templated checklist will save time for inspectors as not only will it give them a clear idea of what to check for each inspection, but it also helps them manage compliance and spot errors or anomalies in their workplaces. Having a detailed EHS audit checklist template also makes it easier to compile the audits in one place and sort through later on, especially if done digitally.
For creating an EHS audit, consider using iAuditor by SafetyCulture. It’s a cloud-based digital tool that offers smart checklists for audits and inspections. With iAuditor, all inspection forms and checklists will always be stored in the cloud in real-time, making them easily accessible anytime and anywhere.
Additionally, iAuditor also offers inspectors and managers a way to contact team members and employees through reporting Issues, assigning them Actions, and raising a Heads Up to an entire team or organization.
iAuditor also has EHS audit checklist templates in the Public Library, free for use. These checklists are customizable and can be shared with others in an organization. There is also the option to create their own or upload existing ones into the app for conversion instead.
Some other ways iAuditor can help with EHS audits are:
- Being programmable to require photos and videos as proof of compliance or noncompliance with EHS or company regulations
- Scheduling inspection schedules
- Integrating sensors into the checklists for easy monitoring of assets, working environments, and more
- Generating analytical reports after inspections to visualize data and identify points for improvement
This EHS audit checklist is tailored for office settings. Use this checklist to inspect office equipment ergonomics, health protocols, and more.
Use this EHS audit checklist to inspect home construction sites and already-finished projects and ensure all recordkeeping processes are followed. This checklist is specifically designed for home construction sites by Clayton Homes, the largest builder of modular houses and manufactured housing in the US.