Safety audit is a planned, independent, documented and a systematical approach of determining the success level of the Health and Safety Management System. It involves the collection of data, analyzing it and the result compared with the Organization’s Health and Safety objective and organizational best practices.
Safety audit accesses the efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability of the total health and safety management system of a company. It helps to identify emerging safety issues before they become problems and also serve as a catalyst for necessary changes to improve employee safety.
It helps determine the organizational safety strength and weakness.
Who Should Conduct Safety Audit
Safety audit can be conducted either internally or externally. Internally, it can be done by a senior management staff who possess the needed expertise or by an external consultant. The major advantage of internal audit is that; it is cheaper and the auditor also has the first-hand knowledge of the health and safety system which could serve as a guide during the process.
However, an external audit it mostly preferred in order to prevent bias during the process.
Types of Safety Audits
There are three (3) types of audits:
- Compliance audit: It is also called condition inspection. This type of audit focuses more on unsafe conditions; it considers three factors: conformance, record keeping and training.
- Program Audit: This type of audit weighs the strategy of the safety programs and its implementation.
- Management System audit: This type of audit evaluate the effectiveness and management commitment to safety compliance, programs, risk control measures and employee’s involvement.
Audit Techniques – How to conduct safety audit
To carry out an effective audit, three key techniques should be followed:
- Document review: The document which should be reviewed include: Health and Safety policy, Safety plan, Incident reports, Training reports, Emergency plan, etc.
- Interviews: Interview key personnel in the organization, and randomly interviewing of staff could also be expository.
- Workplace observation: Walking around the site to have a first-hand observation. This observation will mainly be based on compliance.
Safety Audit Procedure
The audit procedures follow five (5) simple steps:
- Prefer for audit: Here you will determine who will do the audit, the scope/objective of the audit, review applicable standards, and the result of previous audit.
- Conduct audit: As highlighted in the audit technique above.
- Create an audit report with recommendations: The report should highlight the findings. The findings should be both positives and negatives. The summary of the audit report should include recommended actions and areas that need improvement pointed out.
- Set priorities for corrective action: Recommended actions should be prioritized and execution time attached to it. Some may need immediate action while others may not.
- Publish the audit result: The recommendations and corrections should be adequately communicated. This will help everyone understand the necessary changes and how the change could affect them and their work.
Safety audit is a detailed and organized process. It could be time consuming and requires money but it is more beneficial at the long run. It also helps improve the overall health and safety performance and safety culture.