How to conduct an effective Safety Audit

How to conduct an effective Safety Audit

Workers face different levels of risks in their daily schedule, and unless every possible danger is accounted and suitable precautionary measures are taken, workplaces will never be a safe haven for them.

Safety Audit is an important exercise to ensure complete safety to employees from all possible hazards and health challenges.

Employers and safety managers must be aware of Safety Audit Procedures and how to execute them effectively in different work environments. Unless an enterprise becomes safety audit compliant and follows mandatory regulations, it can’t ensure safety to workers.

What is Safety Audit?

In simple term, safety audit is a quantitative analysis of an enterprise’s safety preparedness against possible adversaries.

Safety audits systematically examines a workplace’s total safety and health management system, checks for gaps and deviations within the system, registers new risks and health hazards and provides comprehensive report to employers suggesting various preventive and corrective measures to improve safety and health conditions.

Safety auditors register deviations as per the following parameters:

  • The organisation’s goals set for health and safety with respect to its current performance
  • The existing current standards in the workplaces and its deviation with its original safety standards
  • Comparing the legal requirements put-forth by the government regulations and the Workplace HSE practices and systems.
  • How the existing health and safety standards compliant to external factors of interests such as insurance companies, parent organisation, client enterprises, etc.

How to Perform a Safety Audit?

 A successful safety auditor must be thorough with mandatory safety and health regulations, risks and hazards, legal formalities and implications, impact of external factors on risk management system and different sections of Health and Safety Management system.

Safety auditors performing audit follow standard methods being followed universally in real time to identify risk perceptions, deviations, if any, within the system and current risk management practices followed in comparison to HSE standards.

In other words, one can’t complete Safety Audit successfully without sufficient information. Collective objective evidence about the health and risk standards and performance of an organisation will be crucial for making an effective auditing report.

How to collect evidence of insufficient HSE performance?

Such evidence can be collected through:

  • Carefully observing and identifying potential hazards and deviations from mandatory safety procedures
  • Speaking to officials and managers responsible for safety and seek their views to collect verbal evidence
  • Checking safety records, health and safety performance documents, maintenance records, employees’ performance records including finding absenteeism due to health reasons, risk assessment documents, safety registers, accident investigation manual, near miss entries, HSE training records, employee grievances, legal register, and more.

What are Gaps / Deviations from safety standards?

The Gap or Deviation from the standard procedures are classified as:

Deficiency in performance when compared to the actual goal or aim set by an organisation to reduce accidents due to risks or hazards. For example, an organisation wanted to reduce the accident rate to half but managed to achieve only 40% of its target.

Lack of actions by the management to meet legal and other statutory requirements. For example, company has failed to renew its expired fire license.

It is important that Safety Auditors must identify all risks and gaps within the organisation, talk to different people to collect verbal evidences, physically observe and register dangers and risks and analyse records and documents which can help to make a thorough risk audit report.

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