The Value of Audit Experience Compared to Compliance Experience
Maintaining compliance for on-site Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Managers is challenging enough, but having a consultant inspect your practices and present potential regulatory concerns can, at times, turn quite contentious. One of the best tools an Auditor has is to be able to present factual, accurate, and helpful information as a trusted advisor as opposed to a challenger. A compliance determination is based on gathered information, which is then vetted with those responsible for its veracity, (i.e., we all agree that this is the current condition of a piece of equipment, an operational value, and/or site practice). As a visitor to the site, nothing should be assumed, and agreement must be sought prior to moving to the next phase – regulatory applicability.
In the regulatory applicability phase, the Auditor presents the compliance obligation associated with the current practices and/or equipment or chemical managed on site and based on the information gathered about the current site condition. While stated quite simply here, this is what you hire a consultant for – their subject-matter expertise to quickly identify compliance obligations and understand the exemptions and conditions for compliance that exist within the associated regulation(s). Effectively articulating and clearly summarizing the requirement(s) should be done in a manner that makes it very clear to the site personnel whether a gap exists. Again, if someone is not familiar with the regulatory requirements but does have the experience to know what compliance looks like, then it may be difficult to explain the regulatory requirement gaps for compliance to that non-technical person.
The value of a well-trained/experienced Auditor is the ability to master the communication and presentation elements in order to quickly move the conversation past the discovery of a gap and toward corrective and preventative action. This allows the Auditor to use their time on site more efficiently, allowing them to inspect much more of the site.
Environmental Standards prides itself on using well-trained, experienced, and credentialed (all of our Auditors are Certified Professional Environmental Auditors [CPEAs]) Auditors.
Like most years, the Environmental Standards EHS Auditors were busy in 2022. Coming off the heels of travel bans, they ventured to several countries and even more states to support their client base, which includes chemical manufacturers, oil & gas producers, transporters, refiners, industrial manufacturers, cruise ship operators, railroads, and pharmaceutical companies. Environmental Standards supports clients to effectively manage and measure their compliance against EHS regulations both domestically and internationally.
While Santa relies on reindeer power, our EHS Auditors rely on airplanes, rental cars, and caffeine to traverse the country, and the globe, before returning home to be with their families.