Simon Watson Pain, CRC Press, £73.90 hardback, ebook £35.99

Safety, Health and Environmental Auditing: a practical guide, 2nd edition

Simon Watson Pain offers a timely update explaining the requirements for the latest ISO standards. This second edition, which expands into new topics including due diligence, environment, safety and health auditing and process safety auditing, provides a structured evaluation of the efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability of an organisation’s safety, health and environment (SHE) management system.




Pain, a chartered mechanical engineer with more than 30 years’ senior management experience and a chartered IOSH member, designed and developed the audit protocols of ICI, the former chemicals multinational.

His book begins with a reminder of what makes a good management system, the principles of auditing and how to run the various audit stages. He outlines the qualities of a good auditor and later focuses on the softer skills of the process. For example, on formal meetings, he offers advice on the art of communication and how auditors can best position themselves to ensure a co-operative discussion.

The book’s breadth makes it far more than just another publication on the dry, albeit important subject of SHE auditing with reference to ISO standards. Pain delves into topics that would make me consider buying a copy even though I’m not an auditor. The chapter on process safety auditing, for instance, gives a useful insight into how you could adapt this approach to improve standard audits or even workplace inspections. I also enjoyed the chapter on due diligence. For those of us involved in mergers and acquisitions this provides handy advice on what to think about and also how to determine the risks.

The biggest draw, however, is Pain’s inclusion of an audit checklist (with verification statements) for 60 key areas of SHE risk. When I first graduated I was a safety consultant and had to write something similar for my company. It took me an age to complete and it wasn’t particularly exciting. Pain has taken all the drudgery away. Readers can access his free audit protocol through the website of his employer, Solway Consulting Group, after you register for a password.

When this book landed on my desk I wasn’t sure how useful it would be. Reading it convinced me. Although auditors and consultants will benefit most from it, others in non-specialist SHE audit roles will find useful tips on how to develop their skills. I would consider buying this book for the chapter on due diligence alone; it has helped me to advance my thinking in this important area. Given the cost of the hardback, I would recommend the ebook version.

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