How to Conduct Safety And Health Self-Audits
Systematic evaluation of your safety and health situation is an important facet of your overall program. Don’t wait for accidents to happen before you check and inspect.
Safety and health consciousness tends to slip over time, and it’s your job to be sure that that doesn’t happen. A well-prepared and well-executed safety audit/inspection program can make a substantial difference in accident prevention.
What’s the objective of a self-inspection program? The discovery—through specific, methodical auditing, checking, or inspection procedures—of conditions and work practices that could lead to job accidents and industrial illnesses, and then correcting them.
Stated more positively, it’s checking to see that things are in good shape. This is at the heart of successful accident prevention programs fostered by forward-thinking safety management.
Most organizations with successful safety programs have well-organized safety audit programs. It’s just that simple.
In addition to its direct accident prevention role, the inspection program:
- Informs management of the “safety status” of the organization
- Uses inspection time most efficiently
- Provides a consistent method of recording observations
- Reduces the possibility of important items being overlooked
As one plant engineer put it, safety inspection tours are like preventive maintenance. Every piece of equipment wears down and deteriorates over time, and those pieces of equipment have to be checked regularly.
Similarly, employee work procedures fall into routines over time—some of them unsafe routines—and these practices need regular reevaluation to make sure that safe work procedures are followed.
Purposes of Inspections
Why should you be doing audits and inspections? There are a number of objectives:
- Spotlight unsafe conditions and equipment.
- Focus on unsafe work practices or behavior trends before they lead to injuries.
- Reveal the need for new safeguards.
- Involve many more employees in the safety program.
In addition, audits and inspections help sell the safety program within the organization thereby enabling you to:
- Re-evaluate the safety standards of the organization
- Compare safety results against safety plans
- Gauge the relative success of safety training efforts
- Anticipate problems in advance of any OSHA inspection