Safety Audit - How to get the most out of them

Is your workplace productivity reducing? Are your workers facing issues posing a threat to their ability to work? Might be time for a safety audit.

The only way to find out the answer is through a safety audit. It is a vital tool for all businesses regardless of size or industry type. Whether you are a digital agency, cold storage facility, or in the construction industry, a safety audit is highly valuable to you and your employees.

It ensures workplace efficiency and timely project delivery by checking your enterprise management and functioning deficiencies.

What is a Safety Audit?

A safety audit is a structured process where information is collected related to one or more aspects of a workplace for risk assessment. They are more thorough than inspections as auditors examine the organisation's safety documentation to determine how they can improve their operations and safety management systems to avoid future mishaps.

The auditor will observe the working environment, processes, condition of equipment and machines, and other details to gauge the state of your safety management system. It is hugely beneficial to productivity at working on-site or in-office working.

A safety audit serves two primary purposes:

  • Determine whether your enterprise complies with government safety regulations.
  • Identify weaknesses in your safety processes and provides corrective measures to rectify them.

Importance of a Safety Audit

Safety and productivity share a symbolic relationship. Without the former, the latter will always fall short. When your workforce safety is at risk, how can you expect a healthy working environment where your folks feel safe and dedicated to work?

Safety audits are the perfect way to test your workplace safety management system's effectiveness and reliability.

Though internal supervisors or managers can perform audits, hiring a third party for auditing brings a whole new perspective. Their observation and judgement would be unbiased as they look more rationally towards your workplace.

Some of the benefits associated with safety audits are below:

  • Ensures a safe work culture where your employees are out of danger
  • Helps to trace areas for improvement in the organisation
  • Guarantees the organisation's safety management system meets legislative requirements
  • Discover and identify potential hazards in your company or industry (new and existing)
  • Outlines ways to rectify the identified hazards
  • Minimise the risk of accidents in the workplace
  • Checks whether all employees and management are following safety programs properly

In short, a safety audit ensures that your company is in good health and shape for proper function.

Three Basic Types of Safety Audit

There are three basic types of Safety Audits, segregated based on the kind of information they contain.

Compliance Audit

A compliance audit is a basic safety audit that reviews a company's safety management system to ensure its adherence to OSHA safety standards or other local regulations and policies. It is crucial to facilitate strict compliance with OSHA standards by implementing many programs, rules, and record-keeping practices.

Failure to comply with Government set safety standards often leads to hefty fines and legal risk.

Program Audit

Program audit involves evaluating different safety practices after gauging inputs from all employees and every single individual to determine the safe outcomes of the program.

This type of audit is a feasible way to put your HSE program to the test. It helps for an extensive evaluation of the design and effectiveness from the inside out.

Management System Audit

A management system audit is a combination of compliance and program audit. Its purpose is to evaluate the existing performance of your safety program and determine its compliance with company policy and regulatory norms.

This is a more comprehensive auditing approach that combines worker interviews, compliance reviews and workplace observation to give you a bigger and clearer picture of your safety management system.

How is a Safety Audit Conducted?

Whether hiring a third party or conducting the audit yourself, these steps are basic and standard steps for conducting this audit.

Step 1: Involves preparing for the audit -- informing all managers and supervisors so that all of the essential documents, procedures and records are at hand when the audit begins.

Step 2: The audit is conducted depending on the business or industry type and the areas being audited. In this step, applicable information is collected.

Step 3: It focuses on reviewing and assessing the data gathered in the above step.

Step 4: After figuring out the faults and mistakes in your programs, recommendations are based on rectifying them.

Step 5: Making the primary findings and recommendations available to all supervisors and managers.

The Bottom Line

Safety Auditing is a must when both the risk and legal repercussions are so high. It helps you to assess whether your enterprise safety management system is operating as it should. Often, injuries and accidents at the workplace result from minor problems that could be identified and avoided easily with audits.

Safety audits protect both workforce and workplace by minimising operation costs, reducing mishaps and enhancing productivity.

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