top of page

Safety & Health Audit or Inspections

The main tool used to assess the condition of safety in any organization is an

audit. Unfortunately, the term audit does not have the same meaning for

everyone. Inspections are often confused with audits.

An audit is a tool that assigns a quantitative value to some aspect of an

organization’s safety program. An audit is used to determine where a program

is, relative to where it ought to be.

An inspection is a tool that assesses whether equipment is (or is not) in good

condition, whether certain standards are being met, whether procedures are

being followed and so on. No quantitative evaluations are made in an


Audits assess programs and whether they are effective. Inspections determine whether the policy or procedure has been deployed.


Organizations with a comprehensive safety and health (S&H) program may have as many as a dozen audits per year. Each audit can cover either a given division of the company or a given aspect of the company’s safety program. Comprehensive audits are done less frequently.


Regardless of whether an audit or an inspection has been done, follow-up—in the form of corrective actions—must take place when deficiencies have been identified. Corrections must be a top priority for every organization. For example, if a fire extinguisher is found to have low pressure, it must be immediately replaced, with the deficient extinguisher tagged and sent for service.

Characteristics of Audits

  • Determine what is to be reviewed – either inspected or audited

  • Provide a pre-audit list of what will be inspected

  • Conduct an opening and closing conference

  • Discuss the standards that are used to comply with the safety & health topics

  • Include actual employee involvement

  • Conduct a document control review

  • Observe the workplace with a physical “walk through” of the facility

  • Provide in the closing conference, our observations

  • Send a written report if in keeping with the scope of the audit

two people involved in an audit
bottom of page