Safety Inspection vs Safety Audit
There's no one “right” way to assess the effectiveness of workplace safety programs. Safety inspections look for hazards, risks, & other tactics that might prevent a company from operating safely. Meanwhile, safety audits examine whether programs & strategies are meeting a company's goals.
Safety inspection looks for safety hazards & unsafe practices throughout a facility.
The inspection should:
- Determine whether safeguards are in place
- Examine whether the equipment presents any hazards
- Gather air, water, and other samples to test for hazardous substances
- Observe work practices to identify unsafe actions
A safety audit evaluates safety programs & practices within an organization.
Employers conducting an audit should:
- Measure and collect information about a safety program's reliability & effectiveness
- Look at whether a safety program meets the company's stated goals
- Examine safety training and response efforts
Similarities Between a Safety Inspection and Safety Audit
There are several similarities between safety inspections & safety audits:
- Broad goals: Both strive for a safer workplace that complies with all regulations and standards.
- Safety checklists: Both may use a safety checklist that includes relevant OSHA standards, best practices, and other recommended precautions.
- OSHA requirements: OSHA does not require safety audits or inspections, but the agency views both as components of an effective safety plan.
Differences Between a Safety Inspection & Safety Audit
For all their similarities, a few key differences separate safety inspections & safety audits.
- Scope: An audit reviews safety programs & strategies, while an inspection examines current tactics & routine employee actions.
- Responsible parties: Safety inspections are usually performed by those familiar with the workplace, while independent employees (whether from outside the company or in another department) should conduct a safety audit.
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