Periodic workplace safety audits prevent injuries and accidents. Audits are important to effective safety management as a continuous process of workplace safety planning, analysis, and correction when needed.
Most injuries in the workplace occur due to unsafe behaviors rather than unsafe conditions. Audits focus on safety programs and behaviors while safety inspections focus on the facility, equipment, and tools. Audits help analyze employee behavior and their understanding and compliance with safety procedures and programs.
Safety audits may be scheduled or unannounced. The safety audit team can include management, supervisors/leads, project teams, and even employee committees. Conduct audits wherever employees work, such as group/team work areas, individual workspaces, in the office, facility, or field locations.
Audits include observations of employee working habits doing a variety of job tasks. Auditors walk through the workplace focusing on given job tasks and observe employee behaviors. Are employees following procedures such as conducting grounding and lockout/tag out? Are they wearing required personal protective equipment? Are they lifting properly and following good ergonomics? Include immediate feedback to employees during your audit: praise safe work behaviors and provide guidance and correction for unsafe acts.
Audits review safety programs, policies, and procedures to check that they cover employee job tasks and hazards. If the policies are not adequate or too complex, new procedures should be written. Audit the employee training program, ensuring that it prepares employees for their job tasks by providing compliance training and specific training for higher hazard or complex job tasks.
Include a way to document observations and recommended corrective items in a safety audit. Assign follow up corrective actions and present findings to a responsible individual or management team. Communicate the results of your audit with employees. This includes the positive observed behaviors, observations that required improvement, and information on what corrective actions were taken.