Workplace Safety Audits: 5 Key Elements of a Successful Workplace Safety Audit

Workplace Safety Audits: 5 Key Elements of a Successful Workplace Safety Audit

12th August 2020

Workplace safety audits are vital to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s health and safety management system. They help ensure compliance with the relevant legislation and the potential to identify and correct oversights that could result in costly and tragic injuries or fatalities if left unchecked. To ensure the success of your workplace safety audits, it’s important to conduct them following general best practices. We’ve prepared a list of the key elements to consider for a successful workplace safety audit. Please read on.

 

  1. Consistent and Timely Audits

Safety audits can differ greatly from your regular workplace inspections and may demand that you use a different approach altogether. Regular facility inspections for hazards and their control are usually conducted weekly or monthly. For your safety audits, you should schedule various specific audits throughout the year, say monthly, then reserve the final month for one comprehensive safety audit. Waiting for just one workplace safety audit in a year may lead to relaxed standards, especially for the rest of the months. Before conducting any audit, ensure to assess the availability and proper functionality of access equipment such as step units for convenience and safety during the exercise.

 

  1. Objective and Competent Auditors

The success or failure of your workplace safety audit depends on the professionals conducting it. This makes it very important to consider entrusting the process to auditors with the necessary knowledge and experience. You may keep the operations in-house if you have the necessary resources or hire outside safety professionals to guarantee competence and expertise. If you decide to employ the former method, ensure each auditing team has three to five workers well-versed in all relevant current safety standards and procedures. To ensure objectivity, ensure no worker is allowed to inspect their own work environment.

 

  1. Advanced Preparation

Proper preparation is key to key to the success of your workplace safety audits. Ensure both the auditing team and those being audited are well prepared for the exercise. All affected supervisors and managers should have all the necessary documents, procedures, and records ready and available at least a week prior to the day the audit begins. The audit team should review all previous program area audits, corrective recommendations and all requirements related to the specific program. You should also determine the scope of the audit in advance, taking into account accident and inspection reports from different supervisors and managers.

 

  1. Thorough Recordkeeping

Your safety audit team should consult all incident reports available for the section they’ll be auditing. This helps the team to better apply selective scrutiny to known problems hence the ability to assess where potential problem areas are most likely to exist. They should also strive for comprehensive reporting during the auditing process. Asking detailed questions of the workers working in the area will help them gather as much relevant information as possible. For convenience, encourage the team to have audit checklists that cover all safety objectives and applicable regulations to ensure nothing is neglected.

 

  1. Perceptive Data Analysis

The team should put together a concise report detailing all areas of the program after inspecting all documents, programs, work practices, equipment and procedures. The safety audit comments and corrective action recommendations should consider whether the requirements are being met and whether there’s documented proof of compliance. The auditors should also conclude on the effectiveness of the employee training in producing safe behaviour. The report should contain all deficiencies and positive feedback for any effectively managed area.