9 Key Steps for Conducting a Successful Safety Audit at Work
Maintaining a safe and secure workplace is critical for employee well-being and the success of any organization. And to keep a tab on workplace safety, regular safety audits are essential.
An organization's health and safety policy depends on the well-being of its team members. Hence, employers must conduct safety audits with their team members. These help them evaluate their current safety practices. In these audits, they can also find ways to enhance the safety and productivity of their workplaces.
Learning more about safety audits can help you build proper security protocols and reduce the chances of workplace injuries.
In this post, we will define a safety audit. Also, we will examine its significance and provide procedures and recommendations for doing one for a business.
What is a Safety Audit?
A safety audit is a procedure that assesses the health and safety of a workplace. This inspection is more extensive than technical or spot-check inspections. It assesses the company's safety documentation to find ways to improve its safety management system.
It helps one detect dangers and shows how to make the workplace safer for employees. Organizational leaders use audits to improve safety practices for their team members.
Safety audits serve two goals in general:
1. Ensuring compliance with safety legislation -
Regular assessments are conducted to keep a tab on safety. These assessments can be done externally by regulatory authorities or representatives. Alternatively, they can be done internally by an organization's team of employees.
2. Identifying flaws in a company's safety program -
A company's safety management system is optimized in these audits, and corrective actions are identified.
Why are Safety Audits Necessary?
Regular safety audits are not always necessary for every company. However, they can help measure the effectiveness of a safety program.
Supervisors or employees can conduct internal safety audits. An independent third-party safety auditor can also conduct it.
You may also do a safety audit for the following reasons:
* Following federal regulations:
State and federal governments have safety standards that businesses must meet. After conducting a safety audit, the leaders of an organization may report their findings. This report serves as evidence that they are complying with established norms.
* Demonstrating organizational commitment to safety:
You may promote safety and show your commitment to employee safety by conducting frequent audits. This can encourage workers to follow policies and report hazards. Also, clients and consumers may be more trusting of the organization if they believe it is safe.
* Identifying the source of workplace injuries:
If someone is injured on the premises, the company may conduct a safety audit to determine the cause. It may also include researching the location of the incident. This can aid in the prevention of future injuries.
* Protocols for safety are being updated:
Safety audits can help uncover and incorporate new danger safety rules into company policies. This will keep workers informed and up to date throughout time. Managers need to warn employees against using cell phones while operating heavy machinery.
* Ensuring OSHA Safety Audits and other rules are followed:
OSHA Safety Audits offer a more comprehensive data marker for achieving workplace security. Implementing OSHA and other laws and regulations has resulted in greater worker safety.
* Recommendations for increasing workplace safety:
The audit process aids in improving current working conditions. It also helps develop better recommendations for executing safety protocols in any organization.
Benefits of Safety Audits
Providing regular system reviews to ensure that they are being followed
- Facilitating planned program, policy, and procedural improvements
- Identifying any flaws in the human resource department
- Manifesting management's commitment to employee health and safety
How to Perform Safety Audit? 9 Key Steps
1. Formulate an Audit Team
The first step is to form a team to examine the work environment. Companies can appoint internal or external members, or engage consultants, to provide an objective viewpoint. Each team member must assess each other's settings to ensure fair findings.
Ensure the staff knows OSHA requirements for identifying workplace dangers and safe practices. Safety audit teams are typically made up of three to five members. Assign roles and tasks to each team member to streamline the audit process.
2. Establish Clear Objectives
Set specific objectives that fit the organization's safety goals before beginning a safety audit. These goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). As examples of safety audit objectives, identifying potential hazards and monitoring compliance with safety rules are a few.
3. Prepare and Conduct a Preliminary Risk Assessment
Reviewing the organization's safety practices and creating a checklist may benefit the audit team. This checklist can reveal areas that may need closer examination. In addition, the company will need to know how the location's current operations compare with its future goals.
Before the audit, conduct a preliminary risk assessment to identify areas that require prompt attention. A risk assessment involves reviewing incident reports, analyzing near-miss incidents, and revisiting past audit findings.
Here are some examples of items to consider:
- Raw materials
- Personal protection equipment
- Regulations for vehicles and drivers
- Electrical problems
- Fire dangers
- Tools and machines
- Processes of repair and inspection
- Stairs and lifts
- Storage rooms
Preparing for safety audits may also entail distributing duties to certain team members. For example, two team members can collect samples while others conduct interviews.
The audit team can identify existing risks. This helps them focus their efforts on the most important areas and increases the efficacy of the audit process.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) evaluated over 39,000 organizations in one year. They labeled "programmed" to over 17,000 inspections, meaning random safety audits.
4. Conduct On-site Inspections
Conduct in-depth on-site inspections to evaluate the physical conditions of the workplace. Examine the whole facility, paying special attention to potential risks, equipment, machinery, storage spaces, ventilation systems, and emergency exits.
When inspecting the workplace, consider the following factors:
Lighting: Examine the lighting in the room to see if it allows people to see their surroundings and operate machinery securely. Check the potency of high-intensity discharge lamps in a warehouse. Inspect the fixtures to determine if enough lightbulbs are present.
Equipment placement: Examine equipment location to see if the company has appropriately stored and made them accessible. You can also inspect the storage of various tools, such as ladders, to ensure they are not obstructing routes.
- Signage: Look for signs that warn people about hazardous materials and instruct how to use machinery. Employees may have received considerable training, but posting signs throughout the workplace boosts safety standards. This also shows the organization's commitment to safety.
Any flaws, noncompliance issues, or safety concerns should be documented. Employees should be involved in the inspection process because they can contribute useful insights and firsthand knowledge of workplace safety practices.
5. Data Analysis for Incidents and Injuries
Analyze event and injury data from the past to uncover trends, patterns, and recurring issues. Investigate the underlying causes of accidents and near-miss situations to identify areas that require quick action.
This study will help in the identification of systemic flaws. It will allow the organization to take focused corrective actions to avoid future recurrences.
6. Observe Teams at Work
Observing team members operating in their work environment can help you assess if they adhere to corporate safety rules. You may observe how they operate and maintain machinery.
Consider taking samples to be tested for dangerous materials before the end of your visit. You may inspect the surfaces of counters and equipment or take temperature readings inside storage facilities.
7. Interview Team members
Interviewing the supervisor of the place you're auditing may be useful for your records. Inquire about how they replace materials and how they train new employees. Examine how management approves the usage of special equipment.
Also, look out for their methods of communication for decision-making. Here are some questions you could ask:
How frequently do you meet with your employees to discuss safety protocols?
What requirements must your team members meet before operating heavy machinery?
Are you keeping track of when and how the equipment is operated?
Do you do walkthroughs? If yes, how frequently?
How long does the training procedure take for new employees?
8. Evaluate the Audit Report
After observing the location and gathering information, evaluate the data to determine the area's safety measures. Discuss your issues with team members to reaffirm your beliefs and cooperate on ideas.
Rank data from most urgent to least. This enables managers to identify immediate emergencies, such as temporary closures due to dangerous substances. Determine which threats are the most concerning and which require improvement.
9. Publish the Report
Communicating the basic results and suggestions to all supervisors and managers is important. Don't forget to recognize departments, managers, and supervisors for carrying out their duties well. Everyone will want positive results after a few audits, making the safety manager's job much easier.
Internal or external audits of health and safety
Businesses have two options when considering a health and safety audit. They can either employ an external auditor or conduct an internal audit.
An internal audit can be done by someone competent for the job. Most businesses create an audit committee to oversee the audit process. In-house audits are obviously less expensive and provide more control over the entire process.
An external audit, on the other hand, is the ideal alternative for larger organizations. The principles outlined in the HSE Best Practice Document HSG65 are followed in the conduct of external audits. Furthermore, external auditors can compare organizations to their competitors, which can help the company's overall image.
How Frequently Should a Health and Safety Audit Be Performed?
Organizations should perform a health and safety audit at least once a year. However, some corporations, particularly larger ones, do such audits more often to limit risks.
Health and safety audits are suggested when significant changes to a company's technology or operational practices occur. The staff is also notified when the composition of the staff changes drastically.
It is often advised to conduct a health and safety audit when a company opens a new plant. This is also true when they purchase new handling equipment and machinery or recruit personnel in a separate location.
Q.1 What do safety audits not include?
Safety audits are intended to assess the efficiency of various programs; they do not replace regular facility inspections. Supervisors should conduct weekly facility safety inspections for dangers and precautions. And the management should complete monthly safety inspections.
Q.2 What are the big four?
A safety audit should answer four essential questions. The people or teams assigned to conduct the audits should use a fact-finding strategy to obtain data. These auditors should know about the company's program and the numerous local, state, and federal regulations.
All safety audit comments, recommendations, and corrective actions should address the following four issues:
- Is the program comprehensive regarding regulatory and best industry practice requirements?
- Are the program's prerequisites being met?
- Is there evidence of compliance?
- How effective is staff training - can they use specified safe behaviors?
Q.3 What is the difference between a safety audit and an inspection?
A safety audit reviews workplace safety programs and tactics. A safety inspection explores workplace safety procedures and usual employee behavior.
Despite their similarities, safety inspections and audits have a few fundamental differences.
Scope: A safety inspection evaluates existing techniques and routine employee behaviors. An audit investigates safety programs and initiatives.
Responsible parties: Safety inspections are typically done by workers familiar with the workplace. On the other hand, safety audits should be conducted by independent individuals. These individuals can be from outside the company or from another department.
Finally, completing a successful safety audit at your business is critical for ensuring a safe workplace. Adhere to the primary phases outlined in this blog. This will ensure your safety audit is thorough, effective, and beneficial to the company's health.
A clear set of objectives and a diverse audit team are essential to focusing efforts and monitoring progress. Conducting a preliminary risk assessment, researching rules, and developing a complete checklist assures legal compliance.
Identifying trends and root causes can be done through several methods. On-site inspections can help provide insights. Evaluating safety rules, procedures, and training programs can also be beneficial. Lastly, analyzing incident and injury data can be a useful tool.
Documenting findings and recommendations aids in the implementation of corrective actions. Safety audits are important. They help detect and reduce risks. They also help you prioritize employee health and satisfaction and ensure long-term success. Conducting them regularly is crucial.
Vantage Fit - A complete AI-Powered Solution for seamless implementation of your Corporate Wellness Program to nurture a healthy and engaged workforce