What is a Safety Audit?

A safety audit is a routine review of the effectiveness of a company’s safety programs, policies, and procedures in compliance with industry regulatory requirements. Safety audits are not only important to protect all employees, but for a company to avoid fines and legal fees.

Safety audits are typically conducted by an internal environmental, health, and safety (EHS) manager or a third party team to provide an objective perspective. The process typically involves a walk-through of the facility with a paper checklist and interviewing management and employees.

The safety audit checklist items depend on a business’s specific needs and the safety programs in place. In the United States, companies design safety programs for their employees to follow in order to comply with the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) depending on the industry.

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Safety Audit vs. Safety Inspection

Although safety audits and safety inspection both aim to ensure a workplace environment is safe for all employees, they are separate processes.

Safety inspections are performed regularly and more frequently than safety audits, and by those close to the day-to-day operations. The purpose of a safety inspection is to identify and address hazards within the current conditions of a workplace.

However, safety audits evaluate if employees are adhering to safety procedures put in place by management and how effective those procedures are in avoiding workplace-related accidents. For example, a safety inspection may find that the floor of a workstation is wet and could potentially cause someone to fall. A safety audit is concerned with how often floors are being cleaned and if the materials are readily available to do so.

Safety Audit Best Practices

Scheduling

Safety audits should be conducted at least once a year, but reviewing safety programs more frequently can minimize risk of workplace accidents. The most effective approach to workplace safety management is conducting safety audits as operations change (whenever new production lines, equipment, or tools are introduced) to ensure all safety procedures are up to date and continuously improved upon.

Compliance

Before conducting a safety audit, always check to make sure your checklist items cover the current regulatory requirements for your industry. The industry standards are constantly being updated, therefore your safety audit procedure should be too.

Make a Corrective Action Plan

Safety audits are only useful if corrective action takes place to improve the weaknesses identified in the safety management system. Safety audit notes should be as detailed as possible to aid in finding the root cause of the issue and taking appropriate action. Set deadlines for the action items and dates for review.

The Benefits of Digitizing Safety Audits with Tulip

Paper safety audit checklists can be unreliable and time-consuming to manage. Using a digital safety audit checklist app can simplify the process and provide insights that paper checklists don’t.

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With the Tulip audit checklist app suite, you can:

  • Easily define and manage checklists

  • Quickly document safety issues with photo evidence

  • Assign action items to users and schedule follow-up events

  • Access past safety audit reports

  • View safety audit data all in one place with a visual dashboard to identify trends

Ensure safety and simplify compliance with Tulip's Frontline Operations Platform

See how a system of apps can digitize workflows and capture real-time data with a free trial of Tulip.

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