If the nature of your workplace is hazardous, like a construction site for example, then conducting a site safety audit is the most effective way for a company to gauge how the health and safety management system is working for its employees.
Site safety audits are also good tools to ensure your company is remaining compliant with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules and guides, but they also are critical in helping identify any oversights that could cause serious issues if ignored.
Conducting an Effective Site Safety Audit
When it comes to hazardous sites, any potential problem left unchecked could lead to costly and tragic events, like damage to equipment or property, or workplace injuries or fatalities. If your site safety audit is successful at uncovering a weak spot in the company employee safety program, the issue can be solved and the whole safety plan will benefit. It could be anything from better training on specific equipment or providing employees with better PPE (personal protective equipment). It may even lead to a whole new safety plan being implemented for the betterment of the workers.
In order to make sure the safety audit is beneficial and provides good insight, the company conducting it must do so in accordance with general best practices. Here is a list of site safety audit best practices so you can conduct yours correctly.
Site Safety Audit Pro Tip #1: Plan It in Advance
A proper site safety audit takes proper planning and can’t be done as a last-minute endeavour. It’s important to figure out who will be conducting the test, what the scope of the audit will be, and where the test will be focused on the site.
Employees—namely any affected managers and supervisors—should be notified at least one week in advance of the test so that they can prepare records, documents and procedures and have them ready for the audit team right when the audit starts.
The audit team should take time in advance to review all of the site’s audits that have previously been conducted, as well as what (if any) corrective action was recommended and how it was implemented. The scope of the audit should also be decided upon in advance.
Read Next: The Risk of Poorly-Managed Safety Practices
Site Safety Audit Pro Tip #2: Ensure Your Auditors are Competent & Objective
If the people conducting your safety audit aren’t competent, your audit may not be useful or helpful. Some companies prefer to hire out third-party safety auditors so they can guarantee that experts are conducting the audit. But your company may prefer to keep it in-house.
If your company decides to keep it in-house, make sure to create a safety audit team made up of up to five employees who are incredibly knowledgeable about the current safety standards. They should know all HSE regulations, safety laws, and have proper training in violation and hazard identification. The safety audit should be objective, so employees shouldn’t be inspecting their own workspace or environment.
Site Safety Audit Pro Tip #3: Conduct Them Regularly
Having your site audits infrequently, like once a year, can have an unwanted effect; safety becomes a goal to hit each year and then is possibly forgotten soon after. Instead, it should be seen as a constant mandate. To achieve this, your company should conduct regular audits a few times throughout the year.
Site Safety Audit Pro Tip #4: Keep Thorough Records
Safety audits require exhaustive record-keeping in order for them to be successful. Incident reports and other reported hazards need to be looked over by the safety audit team, as they help the auditors better scrutinise any known areas that are problematic.
The safety audit team should also keep extensive reports of their own audits, including detailed questions about the employees working in that area. This is to get as much relevant information as possible to better provide insight into any weak points that need amending.