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Environment, Health & Safety Audit Systems

Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) management is emerging as a key challenge for large organizations. Companies have to ensure that appropriate processes and programs for work safety compliance are in place and address environment related issues in their operating environment. Without an environment or a work safety program they run the risk of occupational safety and environmental hazards. Furthermore, companies involved in high technology, construction, mining, energy, oil and gas, and chemicals pose a serious threat to environment through Green House Gas (GHG) emission and waste discharges that requires a greater focus on EH&S.

Health and Safety concerns for an organization include compliance with workplace safety regulations such as the OSHA 29 CFR and OSHAS 18001 framework. Enterprise-wide systems are replacing traditional plant-level management systems to ensure adoption of safety management policies across the organization. Environmental compliance requirements by government and local regulatory agencies combined with increasing emphasis on environmental responsibility have resulted in corporate initiatives around GHG emission reductions and investments in harnessing renewable energy sources. Companies have to adopt measures for pollution prevention, environmental liability, environmental reporting, environment permit tracking system and waste management.

Environmental and safety audits will play an increasingly important role in evaluating compliance of organization's environment and work safety programs through assessment of properties, facilities, processes, and operations against regulations and standards as well as internal policies and goals.

Organizations in industries such as construction, manufacturing, high technology,mining, transportation and warehousing, utilities, agriculture and forestry and healthcare have industry specific OSHA and environmental regulations. For example, oil and gas companies need to help regulatory agencies with safety and environmental procedures for acidizing wells, bailing wells, building oil and gas well foundations, cementing oil and gas well casings, chemically treating wells and gas compressing natural gas at the field. A utility company needs to prepare necessary documentary evidence of its occupational safety and environmental management processes such as fuel and ash handling and processing installations (coal conveyors), w ater and steam installations (penstocks, pipelines and tanks), chlorine and hydrogen systems, and electrical safety-related work practices.

Regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA evaluate organizations based on occupational and environmental safety at hazardous facilities against safety standards and environmental regulations such as 29 CFR 1910.120, US Clean Air Act, US EPA, CA AB32, , RoHS, WEEE, Canadian NPRI and National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Regulations. They examine each organization's written site safety and health plan and other program documentation.

Organizations need to perform environmental and safety audits as integral part of the business operations to ensure that they meet the requirements of safety standards and environmental regulations. These audits are systematic and objective assessments of the status and performance of properties, facilities, processes and operations. They are a valuable management tool which can be used to identify and assess environmental and safety problems, and initiate corrective actions which ensure compliance with applicable environmental and safety laws and regulations and internal management policies and practices. Environmental and safety audits can also be used to assess the quality of the existing environmental management systems, and to foster additional initiatives to improve the performance of a facility.

The environment and safety audit system can help organizations to manage and overcome challenges such as

  • Ineffective Management of Safety and Health Functions: Ineffective safety and health management increases the likelihood of deficiencies in site safety and health practices at sites. Audit process can help organizations to address this challenge by enforcing safety through to documentation and management of safety and health requirements through corrective actions and closed loop quality processes.
  • Implement an Effective Monitoring Program to Evaluate Site Hazards: Quantitative evaluation of worker exposure levels through environmental and safety audits provides the necessary controls to support a site's ongoing monitoring process and reduce risk of safety and environmental hazard.
  • Inventory and Operational Audits of Carbon, GHG and Waste Management : Auditing system can help organizations to perform operational audits of inventory quality management system based on standards such as ISO 14000/1, ISO 14064 and other GHG Guidelines

Summary
Site safety and health programs benefit from effective planning, full implementation and careful, ongoing management. Correcting common deficiencies is important not only to protect the health and safety of site workers, but also to maximize the benefit and cost effectiveness of site health and safety programs. Information collected during environmental and safety audits can be used to improve worker safety and health, effectively prevent injury and illness and manage environmental hazards. This can reduce costs and avoid regulatory citations and fines. MetricStream audit management solution incorporates powerful functionality that allows an organization to manage their audit processes for key regulations and standards. It enables companies to assure its stakeholders that their social responsibility and sustainability initiatives meet their goals.