Auditing Environmental and OH&S Management Systems

Auditing Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems will examine auditing processes for ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). Guidelines of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) report CAN/CSA-Z1000-06-Occupational Health and Safety Management are also incorporated into discussion material. This course is designed to assist any who are preparing to establish and implement audit programs, or who wish to review existing audit programs. Auditing, whether for environmental or occupational health and safety management systems, is a skilled discipline that follows generally accepted auditing principles and practices. Some of particular relevance are described in ISO 19011: Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems and in the Body of Skills and Knowledge of the Canadian Environmental Certification Approvals Board (CECAB). 

This is a required course in the Certificate in Occupational Health & Safety Management program.

Who should attend

This course is designed for those who either currently have or will have responsibilities for both the environmental and health and safety activities of their organizations. It is also of value to facilities auditors, plant managers, project engineers and operations managers.

Course content

The content and course materials provide a balanced series of presentations and exercises to explain and demonstrate what a management system is, and how to plan for and conduct environmental and occupational health and safety audits. As they are based on national and international standards, the class lessons are as relevant in British Columbia as they are in Newfoundland.

Previous understanding of ISO 14001, 9001 or OHSAS 18001 is desirable, although the class will include an overview of essential characteristics of ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007.


Day 1 - registration/check-in will start at 8:00 a.m. with sessions to begin at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. Days 2-4 will commence at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. There will be a 15 minute mid-morning and afternoon break. A light lunch is included.

Program outline

Day 1

8:00 Registration
8:30 Understanding Elements of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
What is a management system
How different are Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety management systems
What strategies can be used to audit Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety programs
4:00 Adjournment

Day 2

8:30 Auditing Principles and Practices
What is auditing? How do you decide what should be audited
How to evaluate auditor competence
What personal attributes, ethics, knowledge and skills should you look for in auditors
1:00 Establishing Audit Programs
The first steps to establish ISO 14001 or OHSAS 18001 audit programs
What should be included in audit procedures
How to define program responsibilities, resources and requirements
How to manage audit records
Who do the reports go to?
Do you have the tools to determine audit effectiveness?
4:00 Adjournment

Day 3

8:30 Getting Down to Business: Getting Ready for an Audit
How to prepare for the on-site audit activities
Who is the audit client?
Environmental or occupational health and safety documents you will need to review
Are your audit protocols ready?
Audit team preparation; What about their travel?
Establishing contact with site management
1:00 Your Team is Now On-site…Now What Do You Do?
When to inspect and when to interview
What represents competent environmental or occupational health and safety records review
How to use your audit protocols
How to manage your working notes
Assessing expectations of site management during the audit
4:00 Adjournment

Day 4

8:30 Making Sense of Audit Evidence
What defines an audit finding
When to use corrective action reports
Assessing severity of environmental or occupational health and safety audit findings
What to include in an exit report
How to conduct an exit meeting
How to prepare a final report
What is an audit action plan and who is responsible
Who is responsible for audit follow-up
When is the audit over
4:00 Final Adjournment


John Underwood, Ph.D., now retired from government and industry, developed and then managed the environmental audit program in Nova Scotia Power for eighteen years. He has over forty years of environmental experience within academia, the public and private sectors. Dr. Underwood held national certification to lead environmental management system audits within industry. He has conducted environmental audits throughout Canada and continues to provide consulting services for development of environmental management systems, and audits thereof. He was a founding member of the Auditing Association of Canada.

With assistance of experienced guest lecturers, Dr. Underwood will guide class participants to examine, develop and apply component elements of audit protocols for Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Management systems.