Important Steps to an Effective Workplace Safety Audit

Important Steps to an Effective Workplace Safety Audit

24th June 2020

Safety audits are essential to identify gaps in workplace safety and challenge the benchmarks you’ve set in your safety management system. They help organisations come up with actionable steps to improve their business safety. Whether you’re doing your first safety audit or the tenth, you need to ensure you’re doing it effectively. This piece contains a summary outline of the important steps to an effective safety audit in your workplace. Please read on.

  1. Planning

You need to establish a detailed audit plan before conducting the inspection. The audit plan defines the procedures to be used in the process. When planning for the audit, ensure to document the following: who, what, and where. The “who” refers to the people conducting the audit. These could be the external consultants who have the necessary expertise in safety trained on what to check and how to conduct the process. The “what” refers to the scope of the audit including the documented tasks, checklist and other relevant guides required to carry out the audit successfully. The “where,” on the other hand refers to the designation of targeted areas of the workplace.

  1. Conduct the Audit

Once you’ve established a plan on how to proceed with the audit, the next step is to execute the audit. The auditors need to review the written plans, procedures, and other necessary documentation to help them establish a baseline to compare the written processes with actual action. This includes looking into the strengths and weaknesses in the procedures. If the procedures being audited doesn’t provide additional insight, the team can consult the workers who operate machinery for more information. These workers use the process regularly and can fully explain how things operate, what works well, and what needs improvement. 

Safety should also be put into consideration when conducting the audit. PPE and access equipment used should be safe and in good condition. When looking for equipment to use, look for CE marked fabrications to ensure the safety of your team during the inspection.  

  1. Compilation of the Audit Report

The audit team will then integrate the findings and information into one concise report. The report should contain details of the things that are working well and the areas that need improvement. The areas with problems should be addressed in the recommendation section. This is vital to help management take immediate action on the risk observations made during the audit.

  1. Set the Corrective Action Plan

From the findings of the audit report, it’s unlikely that you can address each issue right away. The report will reveal the need for both pressing corrective actions that should be addressed immediately and minor actions that should be considered for continual improvement. The team should work with the management and supervisors to set an action plan based on the level of hazard presented by each finding. This should prioritise on the items that pose the largest risk. You also need to assign tasks and the completion and review dates.

  1. Publish Audit Results

You need to communicate results to your workers so that they can know the areas going well and those that need improvement. It helps create an awareness of the efforts your organisation is putting towards establishing a safety culture. You can post the results in common areas such as the company intranet pages to allow your workforce to know the status of safety in their facility. The results will also help the workers understand the changes to be made and how these changes will increase their personal safety. Posting results will serve as a reference during future audits, as well.