Workplace safety is a major productivity concern. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 250,000 Texas workers each year lose time on the job due to work-related accidents. This lost time represents lost productivity, damaged motivation, and more stress for co-workers who must rush to cover the injured worker’s job duties.
Performing regular safety audits is one of the best ways to ensure your company is meeting regulatory requirements, implementing industry best practices, and protecting the health and productivity of its workforce. Here are some points to consider when conducting your company’s next safety audit:
- Who will be performing the audit? Generate company-wide “buy-in” by recruiting leadership from each department to conduct safety audits. Don’t ask leaders to audit their own departments; instead, assign them to “check each other’s work” by auditing a department outside their own area of expertise.
- What’s the goal of the safety audit? Safety audits cannot take the place of regular facility inspections, which should be done weekly by supervisors and monthly by managers. Instead, an audit checks whether the company’s programs are effective at meeting their stated safety goals.
- Which criteria will be used for the audit? A set of criteria that focus on safety are a must. Criteria that are general enough to be applied in any department help generate consistent, organized data that can be examined “at a glance” or analyzed more deeply. When you assign managers to perform a safety audit of another department, consider giving them a few basic questions for the safety audit to answer, such as:
- Does the safety program meet regulatory requirements? Does it cover industry best practices for safety and health protection?
- Are the program requirements being met in our department?
- Where is our documented proof of compliance?
- Do employees learn specific safe behaviors in training, and do they apply them in practice?
- Are employees’ safety practices, tools, and equipment effective in preventing injuries?
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