Third party EOHS (Environmental, Occupational Health and safety) Audit – Arsenal to minimize risk

Third party EOHS (Environmental, Occupational Health and safety) Audit – Arsenal to minimize risk:

Environmental, Occupational Health and safety (EOHS) risks are critical component of any business' overall risk management portfolio, and need to have more focused attention.

EOHS risks exist for every type of facility, regardless of industry. EOHS risks impact every organization including chemical plants, theme parks, office spaces, warehouses and all types of manufacturing facilities. Common environmental risks are associated with air emissions, wastewater, storm water, hazardous waste, oil storage, as well as aboveground and underground storage tanks. One example of an environmental issue that affects nearly all facilities is hazardous waste. Some examples of hazardous waste include waste oil, used lead-acid batteries and mercury-containing equipment etc. There are labeling, storage and disposal requirements for these items, which are commonly found in any facility.

On the safety side, there are numerous regulatory requirements including those related to forklifts, cranes, confined spaces, lockout/tag out, safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, machine guarding and exit routes to name a few. Most facilities, regardless of industry, are subject to safety regulations that focus on walking/working surfaces, exit routes, fire extinguishers, hazard communication, and electrical requirements. Of course, regulation applicability depends upon the complexity of a facility's operations and activities.

What is a " Audit"?

"Audit is systematic, independent process for evaluating objective evidence to establish conformance with audit criteria (set requirements). “ Audits are of three types – First Party, Second Party and Third Party.

A "first-party" audit is one in which an organization audits itself. That is, the auditor is employed by the organization that he is auditing. First-party audits have been the preferred mode of operation for organizations. EOHS specialists, especially those who work for large, well-funded departments within companies, have always had this role.

A "second-party" audit is one in which a customer is auditing a supplier or contractor. To me, the second-party audit is an effective tool to assess the extent of conformance to contractual obligations. Now a day’s customer can clearly define the level of protection of the environment & worker for the jobs that need to be done.

A "third-party" audit commonly refers to the use of qualified individuals or entities whose services are usually paid for, by the organization that is to be audited. Third-party audits have been used in the practice of occupational and environmental health for many years. This is a common and well-proven mechanism.

Why organization needs Third party EOHS audits?

The goal of a third party EOHS audit is to determine whether there are gaps between a facility and its activities/operations and the applicable requirements of ISO14001 and ISO45001. An EOHS auditor can determine the compliance status of a facility through observations of the activities and operations at a facility. Other effective methods are interviewing employees and review of documented information.

There are many benefits to conducting a third party EOHS audit.


  • These include proactively identifying any compliance gaps between a standard and what is going on at the facility, determining areas of significant risk or liability along with identifying opportunities to reduce costs. It also includes identifying EOHS regulatory noncompliance, increasing awareness, understanding of applicable requirements, enhancing worker health and safety, and fostering environmental responsibility. Incidents of EOHS noncompliance observed during a government agency's inspection can have serious consequences, including monetary fines, negative publicity, a consent decree or mandated performance plan participation, and negative employee morale. It is important for organizations to consider how they would be prepared for an environmental or safety inspection, which can be triggered randomly by the agency or as a result of an environmental release /employee incident / injury. Due to the complexity and volume of EOHS regulation that may be applicable to an organization, it is as important to minimize the organization's EOHS risks as it is to minimize any other aspects of risk to which the organization is subject.
  • Third party EOHS audit process provides the company with a roadmap for taking advantage of the biggest opportunities, correcting issues and proactively managing ongoing risk at each site. Third party audit companies have the benefit of having conducted audits in multiple environments and are able to share best practices that can strengthen individual programs. Wide industry knowledge held by third party auditor can serve to validate existing programs and provide recommendations for growth or change when deemed necessary.
  • Third party auditors are able provide a completely neutral assessment and review of a company’s systems and processes without the natural familiarity that occurs over time with regular staff in day-to-day routines. Audits conducted internally can be taxing on time, labor resources and take away from overall business function, however a third party auditor is able to enter a location for the sole purpose of conducting an audit. She/he can conduct the audit/ interviews in a timely and efficient manner without interrupting the efficiency of the company.
  • An increasing number of globally operating corporations implement an EOHS audit as part of their environmental management. These corporations comply with the laws of each relevant country. Also, they prepare their own corporate standards (internal standards) and inform their overseas offices to ensure sophisticated management of the environment, occupational health and safety. Third party EOHS audits are an important element in evaluating a high quality EOHS management system. Geographies do not matter as you move from one region to another, in case of multinational organizations, auditing agencies present worldwide make operational and lingual challenges, easier.
  • More than just examining the compliance as per International standards, third party external audit can unearth hidden risks and generally accepted yet incorrect operational practices prevalent at organizations. In Today’s world Selecting and choosing the right agencies for third party external audit can be a challenge. But, with marketing and information available in abundance, it is simply a matter of using the right search words or asking among the right professional networks.

At TUV India Pvt. Ltd. as one of the renowned certifying body, we conduct EOHS compliance and management systems audits. Our audit professionals have performed hundreds of EOHS audits over the past decade or more. Their ongoing work in tracking EOHS regulatory updates and keeping the company’s audit compliance guides up-to-date makes TUV India unique among other certification bodies. Because of their wide experience in industry and knowledge, TUV India auditors consistently provide value added audits resulting large benefits to organisations.


About The Author

Atul JoshiSenior Lead Auditor - IMS
TUV India Pvt Ltd