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.
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.
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 inspection.
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