Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) audits are necessary to improve staff awareness of safety regulations, demonstrate company responsibility and adhere to all necessary regulatory obligations. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the topic of EHS audits.

The definition EHS audit

An EHS audit can be described as an objective and comprehensive evaluation of an organisation’s environmental, health and safety systems, processes and policies, so as to ensure that they are adequately meeting all regulatory standards. Ideally, organisations have established EHS departments that publish protocols to help the organisation behave in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. The sole responsibility of this department is to review the workplace and staff for any audit related to that EHS system, ensuring that all competence, knowledge and skills are at par with international standards.

Typically, an EHS audit will determine:

  • Which regulations the organisation is specifically applying/adhering to within the facility?
  • Whether the employees have embraced the health and safety standards.
  • The impact, quality and relevance of all implemented safety training programmes.
  • If the technologies, systems and processes in place are supplemental to continual improvement and continued compliance.

Before conducting an EHS audit, the in-house or external auditors must comprehend the scope and focus area of the audit. Once that is established, all that is left is to begin compiling documents, checklists and previous reports to assess how corrective and preventive actions have been implemented in the past. Remember, it does not matter if the audit is conducted by a properly accredited in-house health and safety team member or an independent consultant, what matters is how well your staff is prepared for the interview.

The definition EHS audit

Why are EHS audits so important?

One of the most critical elements to maintaining compliance and ensuring occupational health and safety is to establish a health and safety program at work. However, the work does not end here. What is the point of an EHS system if it becomes obsolete or if it is not relevant to any new additions, modifications or changes? This is the reason why health and safety professionals need to be constantly on their toes, reviewing the programs to ensure that it perfectly aligns with shifts in performance, priorities or processes of the organisation.

Irrespective of whether an EHS audit is voluntary or mandatory, it can be utilised to evaluate how well the health and safety program is working within an organisation and to implement improvements. Mandatory audits have an additional purpose, where they can be utilised as a part of a settlement between the organisation and any third-party body. Regardless of the nature of the audit, they ensure that the health, safety and well-being of the entire organisation are maintained, revealing prior undetected problems and massively improving safety. If EHS audits are conducted regularly, they reduce liability and can result in the whole facility being run in a more cost-efficient manner. As a result, it can be incredibly boosting for your brand reputation, employee morale and stakeholder confidence.

Benefits of EHS audits

Some of the common benefits include:

  • Ability to lower policy premiums by providing insurance agencies with evidence of the organisation’s EHS performance and excellence.
  • Enhanced staff awareness of safety regulations.
  • Projecting a positive image of the company to external parties.

Identification, rectification and improvement of all non-compliance issues.

Benefits of EHS audits

How to prepare for an EHS audit?

To adequately prepare for an upcoming EHS audit, you must first begin by understanding the exact regulations and protocols which apply to your workplace. Therefore, you can begin preparing for the audit by:

  • Determining the audit scope and focus: The audit team should be clear about what they are going to audit and assess. Clarity can only be a consequence of understanding the scope and effectively communicating expectations.
  • Identity which specific regulations your company complies with: Research the current laws and regulations to understand which other laws are applicable in your industry, so as to ensure better compliance.
  • Data collection: Adequate data enhances the efficiency of the audit, hence providing the auditors with the necessary documents and protocols in an organised manner. Examples include hazard tracking information, employee training records, environmental permits, current certifications, etc. Edara Software can help you simplify the documentation process by allowing you to store all documents in a central place, improving real-time communication and access without compromising integrity, confidentiality or authenticity.
  • Understanding the key audit elements: By understanding and identifying the key audit elements, you can track the efficiency of the current safeguards.

If an incident has recently occurred, ensure that the auditors analyse it to determine the root cause. A discussion must be prepared to address these elements in advance, so as to spot trends, track action’s completion, report with ease and capture all information. Edara Software enables you to report on previous incidents and easily track subsequent actions so that you are better aware of all issues within your organisation.

Also read: ” what is a fire safety audit? ”


EHS audits are an indispensable tool for collecting data, identifying your organisation’s current environmental, health and safety position, and ensuring that your company remains healthy in the future.