You’re at risk if employees or others suffer an injury on your property. You could be susceptible to civil lawsuits and criminal actions. To help cut this risk, periodic safety audits can help you maintain and constantly improve the safety standards within your location.
A safety audit can give your business an objective assessment of risk levels, help you comply with regulatory standards and create both a healthier and happier workforce. Many businesses audit their safety posture after first creating a health and safety program tailored to the needs and nature of the business.
Some use audits to align with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) federal standards, while 22 states operate their own OSHA-approved safety and health standards.
Beyond regulatory needs, OSHA points out that a safety program can bring many other benefits to a business such as:
- Preventing workplace injuries and illnesses
- Improving compliance with laws and regulations
- Reducing costs, including significant reductions in workers' compensation premiums
- Engaging workers
- Enhancing a business’s social responsibility goals
- Increasing productivity and business operations
Before beginning a safety audit, your team should take time to review pertinent documentation such as:
- Accident reports
- Company policy statements
- Employee training requirements and participation records
- Industry best-practices guidelines
- Inspection results and corrective actions implemented
- State and federal guidelines and laws
Performing Your Audit
When performing an audit, you'll look at the total safety environment of your company, which might include elements like:
- Emergency preparedness
- Employee education programs
- Employee participation
- Hearing conservation
- Respirator and personal protective equipment use
The areas of concern you'll include in your audit will depend on the nature of your business and the hazards it presents. OSHA’s audit tool is a great starting point to help your business develop the questions to be addressed by your audit.
Remember that an OSHA safety audit is far more involved and very different than a routine hazard inspection. As a business owner, you should always perform regular safety inspections according to your organization's specific needs.
You'll also need to perform a department by department review to be sure that all parties are educated on current safety standards. Include direct observation of operations to make sure that your business is actually using safety and training procedures and is meeting standards.
Preparing Your Audit Report
After you've completed your audit, you’ll need to create a formal report. The report can contain an overview of findings, including what is and isn't working for your company. It can highlight discrepancies, and make recommendations for improvements to the current program.
- OSHA’s Small Business Safety Management Series OSHA 2209-02R 2005
- OSHA's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines
- American Chemical Society Committee on Chemical Safety’s Safety Audit/Inspection Manual
- OSHA’s Safety and Health Program Audit Tool
Selective also offers in-depth safety management resources on our website. Speak to your agent to learn more about how Selective can help you reduce risk in your business. Don't have an agent? Click here to find one in your area.