An audit is a mechanism to verify whether a company, project, or process is obtaining the desired benefits, by analyzing organizational situations, regulation compliance, and analysis of the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes applied. Environment, health and safety is one of the areas where in recent years various audit systems have been implemented.
The so-called environmental audits consist of a methodological examination of the processes of a company or industry in order to know the conditions of pollution and risk under which they operate. Similarly, this test allows assessing compliance with legal norms, not regulated aspects, and those aspects that define good practices in engineering. They are run primarily on organizations that have designed a management system based on international standards or on their own, such as ISO14001 and OHSAS 18001.
These processes play a fundamental role in the management of enterprises, since they establish control mechanisms that allow demonstrating the continuous improvement of processes, and add value to the management system being developed.
To properly conduct an environmental audit process, the following steps are recommended:
- Clearly state the purpose and scope of the audit
- Set time limits previously
- Define the audit plan
- Determine the legal requirements to comply with
- Resolve any eventuality that may arise during the audit
- Communicate the results to stakeholders.
The audit, as a first phase, gives way to a second, called Post-audit. This consists of establishing the compliance agreement for the specified corrections pointed out, devise a plan of action for this purpose – defining monitoring procedures – and then delivering the corresponding certificate to the audited entity.