Many EHS professionals participate in audits in some way, shape or form. Audits may be conducted to evaluate EHS regulatory compliance, management systems (such as ISO 14001), sustainability practices, and even financial practices (where the whistleblower protections are enforced by OSHA). EHS professionals may be on either side of the audit, either as auditors or as "auditees."
However, unless they are part of a dedicated audit department, many EHS professionals may be unaware that there are US and international consensus standards and guidelines for the competencies that an EHS auditor is expected to possess. This is because, as of now, US companies tend not to place much emphasis on requiring these competencies in their audit teams. That, in turn, is because there is not yet much demand by the companie's customers for certification of such competencies, the way there may be for ISO 9000, CE mark, or even ISO 14000 certification.
However, there is a clear, if early, international trend towards placing an emphasis on competence rather than education/training of personnel who perform all types of critical tasks, including audits. Therefore, it will become increasingly important for EHS professionals to understand the core competencies that an auditor must have, if they wish to conduct audits as part of their careers.
This session will present an overview of the current guidelines related to EHS auditor skills, along with a brief discussion of the emerging trends in competence evaluation. It also highlights a few of the critical skills/competencies that are significantly different from those that an EHS generalist might typically have.