Following a successful implementation of the iPad for HSE auditing, Elm is today rolling out environmental compliance audit protocol modules for field testing this week.
“We believe this is the first formal environmental audit protocol implemented in the iPad form factor,” said Lawrence Heim, Director of Elm’s Georgia operations and the firm’s lead for iPad service development.
The protocols are reflective of a traditional paper-based format proven in the field over a number of years. Modules selected for field testing are waste generation, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (“EPCRA”) and ozone depleting substances.
“In our view, this as a potentially dramatic step forward in HSE auditing. While version one does not automatically generate audit findings or reports, it has other significant strengths in addition to the benefits already seen by Elm from iPad implementation,” Heim said.
Elm highlights the following features:
- Flexibility. The protocol can be used in a manner matching auditors’ own personal styles in collecting audit data. Handwritten notes are captured in any format, including different “ink” colors, “highlighters”, and line weighting. While the initial protocol version is based on Elm’s standard audit process, other custom formats can be developed virtually without limitation.
- Adaptability. Elm’s iPad HSE protocol can be used alongside existing audit systems for initial data capture and organization prior to entering the information into less user friendly, highly structured audit systems. Also, the resulting PDF file can be attached into other HSE audit systems as supporting documentation.
- Merging related documents into the protocol. Documents such as state regulations, permits, plans, applications, agency correspondence and enforcement agreements can be incorporated into the protocol itself without effort of retyping, restructuring or reformatting. Once the appropriate document is merged, auditors are able to write notes and highlight text directly in the document. Further, by using a cellphone camera, additional documents can be captured and merged into the protocol in a few minutes while on-site.
- Languages. The iPad application in which the protocol was created can drastically reduce the need to translate audit protocols and related documents between languages. Audit documents are captured in their source format and original language, eliminating language translation costs/errors and allowing auditors to use their local language.
“We fully expect a successful test, with only minor changes to Version 1 being necessary. Additional environmental compliance modules are already in initial stages, awaiting our assessment of the field trials. Health and safety modules will be developed soon after,” Heim stated.