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Could your organization use an environmental audit?

How long has your organization been in business? You probably made sure that you accounted for all environmental regulations that apply to your business before opening the doors. The problem is that regulations and laws tend to change on a fairly regular basis.

You may not realize that your company could inadvertently be violating one or more environmental laws. One way to rectify the situation is to conduct an environmental audit. One of the first things to know about this type of audit is that you may want someone with the appropriate experience and knowledge of environmental regulations and laws to conduct it.

Important elements of an environmental audit

You may want to include at least the following elements in your audit:

  • Develop a routine schedule for conducting the audit
  • Develop standard practices for conducting the audit
  • Create a report regarding your findings, needed changes and a plan to implement them
  • Bring in someone objective to conduct the audit 

It's important to follow through with the needed changes, modifications or adjustments outlined in the report of the audit. Now that you know about any deficiencies, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division expect you to take care of them.

Many people also tend to use someone from within the company to perform the audit. Doing so runs the risk of bias, pressure from higher ups and a misguided eagerness to please those same higher ups. Bringing in someone with the appropriate objectivity from outside the company provides you with an unbiased report from which you can make the necessary changes.

Some additional support may help

Even if your auditor is aware of environmental rules and regulations, you may want to take the extra step of finding out for yourself what compliance means for your business. Often, this depends on the industry, but the law isn't always organized that easily or conveniently. Figuring out which laws apply to your business could cause a significant amount of confusion, but failing to know the law could lead to potential violations.

Without the appropriate help, you may find the EPA and DEP at your door. The best time to fix a problem is before it becomes one. Armed with an environmental audit and knowledge of the regulations, rules and laws that apply to your business, you may just make that happen.

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