The word “audit” is enough to set any company on edge, but if you properly prepare for one, you’ll be ready when the time comes.
This guide will detail what is involved in an environmental audit. This way, you’ll know what to expect as part of this process and can prepare for your next audit.
Environmental Audit: Know What to Expect
These types of audits review a company’s adherence to environmental regulations. Therefore, companies in regulated industries should conduct regular audits.
Typically, third parties conduct these reviews. An outside firm will take an objective look at performance. They’ll also be able to identify potential shortcomings and suggest remedies.
When scheduling an audit, you can expect the process to involve the following aspects.
Site visits are one of the most basic components of an audit. Auditors will review business processes and observe staff members as part of a focused effort to ensure that your company is adhering to best practices.
The length of the site visit can vary. A few examples of factors that will impact visit length include:
- The size of your facility
- The number of employees
- The type of work performed
- The state in which you operate
Most site visits only last a single day or less. However, some site visits might be multi-day events.
During site visits, auditors often conduct staff interviews. These interviews are aimed at employees at all levels to measure their knowledge of policies.
Auditors will also interview mid-level managers and site supervisors. They will tailor their questions to align with the experience level of the interviewee.
The auditor will note any concerns in their report. A lack of regulatory knowledge is the most common deficiency discovered in interviews. But other issues may also be revealed by this process.
No audit is complete without an extensive policy review. Auditors will review things like stormwater pollution prevention plans. They will also look over your company’s standard spill response procedures.
These reviews determine whether your policies align with relevant regulations. After all, bad policies set the stage for accidental violations. These violations can lead to fines or other negative consequences. More importantly, they can cause staff injuries or death.
A good firm will be able to make recommendations to correct policy issues. They will be able to identify shortcomings and assist with policy rewrites. The revised policies should adhere to legal requirements. They will also protect the business from liability.
After the assessment is complete, the auditors will generate a report. This report will detail all of their findings and should identify the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
Audit reports also include recommendations. These recommendations should address all issues found in the audit. They should also be clear and practical.
The best audit firms also assist with implementing recommended changes. They will also guide your company through the revision process.
Presentation of Audit Findings
The final stage of the audit is a presentation of findings. Auditors will verbally summarize their findings with the compliance team and stakeholders. They will also provide a physical or digital copy of the report.
Stakeholders can use this time to ask questions or voice concerns. They can also seek additional guidance on remedying any deficiencies.
Take Action to Prepare for an Environmental Audit
Now that you know what is involved in an environmental audit, it’s time to work with experts to ensure that your company is ready. Doing so can protect your business from civil liability and help you avoid fines. It will also protect staff from workplace incidents.
Get started today by partnering with an experienced firm like RSB Environmental. We provide comprehensive auditing services throughout the U.S. Reach out to our team today for a free quote and to schedule a consultation for environmental audit support!