As a vendor of EHS software on Office 365, we’re frequently asked what’s the difference between an Audit and an Inspection?  

There are several definitions out there. Therefore, when it comes to finding the right Audit or Inspection Management Software, it’s important to align your organization’s understanding with the vendor. 

Often, EHS software vendors conflate Audits with Inspections. It’s true that they are similar. However, in enterprises it’s more accurate to differentiate the two. 

Knowing this, we want to make it easy for you to determine how Pro-Sapien works. Read on to learn the difference between Audits and Inspections in an EHS software setting.  

What is an Audit at Pro-Sapien

Goal: Audits evaluate compliance with current regulations or internal policies.  

Usual Format: Open-ended form. 

Audits are usually carried out less frequently than Inspections and very necessary to evaluate compliance with your business’ policies or regulations on a more general level.  

Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) audits can be conducted both internally and externally. Even audits carried out internally are often conducted by a person out-with the department and functions being audited to avoid bias. 

Typically, an audit involves building up a list of observations or findings, capturing detail per finding. This may include: 

  • Citation/Regulation ID 
  • Risk rating 
  • Categorization 
  • Description 
  • Attachments e.g., photographs or documentation 
  • Corrective or preventive actions (CAPAs)  

Furthermore, audits can check if sites are carrying out the required inspections to stay compliant. In this way, there is a connection between audits and inspections. 

One more difference to note is safety programs almost always plan audits, which is not necessarily true for EHS inspections. 

Takeaway: Audits cover the root causes of problems identified during inspections. They address the ‘why’

Example:

Is this what you are looking for? Go to our Audits Page! →

What is an Inspection at Pro-Sapien?

Goal: Inspections verify if equipment or facilities are operating safely, or if processes are being followed. 

Usual Format: Checklist form. 

EHS inspections are more granular than audits.  

Inspections are carried out on a specific piece of equipment, facility or a particular task. Often, they are conducted by someone familiar with the installations, equipment or facilities being inspected, rather than someone external. 

Example inspection types include: 

  • Monthly site safety inspection 
  • Vehicle inspection 
  • Product quality inspection 
  • Fire safety inspection 
  • Environmental inspection 

Moreover, inspections typically utilize checklists. This contrasts with audits, which are less prescriptive.  

In yet another difference, unlike audits, you cannot always plan inspections in advance – they can be ad-hoc or informal.  

For example, most Pro-Sapien clients use our Inspections module for a mix of inspections in a schedule, such as monthly site inspections, and inspections as and when required, such as during work that requires a permit.  

Finally, due to their nature, inspection checklists may need updated every now and again. To cater for changing circumstances, Pro-Sapien inspection checklists are within your control as the client to edit.  

Takeaway: Inspections identify problems with the potential to cause immediate harm. They address the ‘what’.  

Example: 

Is this what you are looking for? Go to our Inspections page! →

Similarities between audits and inspections

They are frequently interdependent, and many sources simply refer to them as a package deal: ‘audits and inspections’.  

There are many similarities, including: 

  • You are evaluating something against a criteria 
  • You must engage responsible parties in the process 
  • The goal is to discover potential issues 
  • CAPAs will later address potential issues 

All things considered, Pro-Sapien provides two separate forms that are fit-for-purpose in many scenarios. 

Notably, we sometimes see organizations refer to ‘audits’, as ‘inspections’ and vice versa.  

Is this an issue? Absolutely not.  

We flag your preferred use of ‘Audits’ and ‘Inspections’ early on when you engage with us, but that is simply the beginning of our implementation process.  

The importance of the implementation process

Regardless of what you consider an Audit or an Inspection, having an EHS software vendor listen to your needs and dedicate time upfront to understand your existing processes is key in every effective implementation

Ultimately, look for an Audit or Inspection Management Software that will align closely with your existing processes, requiring little internal process change.   

For this reason, we have a tried and tested approach to ensure your software from Pro-Sapien works your way, delivering an Audits and/or Inspections system that helps you improve EHS performance across the business. 

Keep Reading: 9 Tips You Need for EHS Software Implementation →

Author

  • Irene Zueco is a Marketing and Communications Executive at Pro-Sapien, providers of EHS software on Office 365. Irene is responsible for producing informative content that helps guide EHS professionals through the complex EHS software marketplace. Previous to working in the industry, Irene completed a Master’s in International Business and Modern Languages in 2018 and has lived in Spain, Italy, and Scotland.

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