How safety auditing can help Reduce Occupational Hazards

How safety auditing can help Reduce Occupational Hazards

Finding fault with-in is the best way of judging one’s weakness and take proactive measures for self improvement. Same holds true for organizations which need to perform self analysis about their weakness and strengths in providing safe and healthy work environment for their workers.

Occupational safety and health audit, as popularly known in the HSE field, has been conducted as frequent as required by companies to ensure that all safety compliances are maintained to the optimum levels and no short-comings in providing safe, secure and healthy work environment for workers.

The safety examination exercise is an independent, planned and documented auditing of the existing OHS management system which evaluates the standard and effectiveness of all the safety controls and preventive measures.
This self-analysis will answer the following questions:

  • Whether the organization has Health and Safety management system?
  • If it does exist, is it being used?
  • How effectively the health and management system is being practiced?
  • List of workplace precautions
  • How often workers are given safety training
  • Existence of mandatory safety tools and protective equipment
  • Whether safety incidents are recorded and follow up measures are taken

Organizations, as a pro-active measure, conduct safety audits to measure the health and safety performance of various departments, analyze needs for improvements, identify weakness, if any, and take measures to improve safety conditions. A well-planned auditing report provides an objective view of the facts to the management regarding weaknesses and compliance, identify success, find out loose ends and suggest room for improvements.

Types of Audits

Safety audits are of two types – internal and external auditing.

While internal auditing is carried out by people chosen within the organization, external audits are done by third party independent auditors hired by the management. As far as content, sequence, depth and purpose of investigation, both auditing types are similar to each other but differ in line of approach.

Internal auditing has its own disadvantage for being subjective as internal auditors drawn from within the organization but from different section, need to report about their own company, safety awareness, compliance, system, lacunae, weakness, etc. In most cases, internal auditing only highlights positive sides and avoids portraying the negative sides to the management, which is not healthy for any organization.

Whereas, third party audits are carried out by HSE experts who are also trained lead auditors with exposure in legal, technical and other key elements of auditing.

These auditors have full freedom to judge and report independently without any apprehension or influence. Objectivity becomes the key factor and the findings are reported to the authorities concerned as it is for suitable corrective measures.

Large companies engage HSE professionals and make use of them to perform internal auditing. Otherwise, in most of the cases, industries engage lead auditors from outside who have required qualification and expertise in completing safety audit within the specific parameters and time limit.

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