What is a safety audit and why is it important to a company’s success? A safety audit, done correctly, can identify work hazards and prevent accidents. It also aids companies in setting safety and health goals among employees. Before deciding if your company should conduct an audit, there are a few things to consider.
What will an audit cost?
While the cost can vary, it can be controlled by asking a few questions:
- Will my insurance carrier cover any fees? An insurance company may provide personnel and risk management resources for an audit.
- Should I hire a consultant? This may be the best approach if the insurance carrier does not provide the service. Most consultants will adapt the audit to your company’s need, which saves time and cost.
- Do I have resources within my company? Some companies will have in-house resources available to use. Managers from a department, who are cross-trained, might be able to audit another department.
Prioritize your audit
Your highest priority should be given to the areas of highest risk. High risk areas of interest include the detection of hazards or violations that could cause serious injury. Hazards or dangerous situations that are unlikely to occur should be given lower priority.
What happens after the audit?
If any serious hazards are detected, it is vital that they are corrected without delay. Should an inspector discover a hazard that you previously acknowledged, but did not correct, you could receive a citation.
Be mindful of your record keeping. Some documents to keep on file include safety committee inspection reports, inspection checklists and meeting minutes. Of particular significance are accident and serious injury reports.
Aside from determining the areas that need improvement, a periodic safety audit can also gage how well your company is running in terms of workplace safety and legal compliance. It is essential to conduct an accurate audit as an improper safety audit could result in a false sense of security and possible exposure to legal risks.