The reading room: Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Audits, and the CPD opportunities it presents

28th November 2023

A look at the latest edition of Stephen Asbury’s IEMA-endorsed book, Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Audits, and the CPD opportunities it presents

Sixteen years ago, the then IEMA CEO, Russell Foster, endorsed the world’s first book on risk-based management system auditing. The second and third editions were endorsed by former CEO Tim Balcon in 2013 and 2018. Now, Sarah Mukherjee MBE has endorsed the fourth edition, published by CRC Press in November 2023.

On the latest edition, Sarah says: “Competent auditing is a vital function of well-run organisations. It provides assurance to boards and senior management that appropriate controls and governance arrangements are in place, to both manage environmental impacts effectively and support performance improvement. Now more than ever, it is crucial for organisations and broader society to manage their relationship with the environment – not only to reduce the impacts they have but also to create new opportunities for development and growth.”

Professions and professionals from many disciplines use continuing professional development (CPD) as an approach for demonstrating and building competence. Worth 30 hours of CPD, Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Audits – A Risk-Based Approach provides learning and professional development through its 10 chapters, in a series of MicrolearningTM online tutorials, and a host of supporting materials via its eBook and companion website. As readers progress through each chapter, the book directs them to online assessments which, upon successful completion, each grant three hours of verified CPD to IEMA members – 30 hours for all 10 chapters.

Author Dr Stephen Asbury says that approaches to auditing have changed over the years, and the ‘tick-box’ mentality of old should now be consigned to history. “Now is the time for organisations to deliver the continual improvements inspired by Dr Deming, embraced as
Annex SL by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and compelled in the environmental sustainability discipline by ISO 14001:2015. They must focus their audit programmes and audits on significant risks – the ‘big rocks’ and ‘black swans’ within their context – to their objectives.”

Big rocks are foreseeable and significant impacts. Black swans – until they happen – seem unlikely to occur, even though they can have catastrophic consequences. They are named for the unexpected black swans found in Australia by the earliest European travellers (probably just as unexpected as the arrival of tall, white Europeans to the Aboriginal Australians).

Asbury says that organisations must apply reliable and repeatable auditing methodology to provide independent assurance of strengths and alerts to areas of weakness. The book presents such methodology as The Audit AdventureTM, along with more than 60 case studies, 90 A-Factors (auditing factors, which consolidate the essential nuggets of learning), and a generous helping of tips for auditors. The method is aligned to ISO 19011:2018 Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems throughout.

Sue Buxey, IEMA’s director of operations and professional standards, says that IEMA is pleased to endorse the CPD learning content in this book and sees it as a valuable contribution to members’ ongoing demonstration of their personal development.

IEMA CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE adds: “I very much welcome this book. It will be a great help to auditors in delivering assurance and value to business.”

Member discount

Health and Safety, Environment and Quality Audits is available to IEMA members at 20% discount. Quote EFLY01 at the checkout (valid until 30 June 2024). To order your copy, visit

Dr Stephen Asbury FIEMA originally joined the Institute of Environmental Management in 1995. He was the 44th Fellow of our Institution and, as a keen advocate of CPD, is the author of seven books for Taylor & Francis. He was awarded his doctorate by Middlesex University London in 2021


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